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Posted on Feb 18, 2014 in Blog, Fathering, Humility, repost, Truth

The issue doesn’t matter, it’s the starting point.

The issue doesn’t matter, it’s the starting point.

There are a thousand different hot-button topics in the world today. You name the issue and there is someone who is all worked up for it and against it. Whether it’s GMO, Government Healthcare, Global warming or climate change, Recycling, Abortion, Homosexuality or CHEMTRAILS (which for some reason is always in all caps…). There is no shortage of causes to take up, there is no shortage of defenses and arguments and there is no no shortage of guilt being dished out from each side to the other.

But, really, none of that matters.

It really doesn’t.

What matters is where we start.

What I mean by that is the beginning motivation that drives us to take a stance for or against something is what really matters. And if we fail to recognize that, we will never understand or be understood. (I’ll write more on this later.)

For now, I want to focus in on one simple idea. It’s my issue. For some reason, I feel compelled to take a stand on this issue. What’s that, you ask?

Selflessness as opposed to selfishness.

And I think this is the one reason there are so many issues with so many people making strong statements on so many different sides of so many arguments.

I think it’s our selfishness that is driving us to take a stand on these issues. And once we decide where we are going to take the stand, we go out in search of “data” to defend our stance. But, as long as we’re trying to defend something we’ve decided for ulterior motives, we never really land on the truth.

We can’t. Because we didn’t start with the truth. We started with ourselves. And I don’t know about you, but I know myself. And I know that I am not a reliable source of steadfast truth. I’m too unpredictable, and too fallible. I make too many mistakes and wrong decisions to be able to start with myself.

And yet, that’s the starting point for almost every issue.

All For Tupperware Sippy Cups. 

Tupperware Sippy Cups

Let’s make up an issue so I don’t offend you or the issue you’re attached to. Let’s say that I have a firm belief that every person on the planet should use the old school, tupperware kids cups instead of the new sippy cups. The reason I think this is because I have an emotional attachment to the cups from my own childhood.

Because of my strong personal feelings about these cups, I go in search of a defense for them. It’s not hard to come up with reasons, even for a fake issue like this. (However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this as a real issue for some people.) For starters, these cups are environmentally friendly, and were designed with kids in mind. They have a small enough size that kids can hold them without any trouble, instead of the fatter cups that are being made today. Also, they don’t have a fancy anti-drip device on the inside that only retains moisture and inevitably leads to mildew – and no child should have to drink mildew flavored apple juice.

Sure, those are good arguments and good reasons. And I could undoubtedly find some people to support my movement. But, the facts the movement will be built on aren’t the real genesis for the movement. The real beginning is because of my strong personal attachment to the cups. And I’m creating a movement to meet my own selfish agenda.

As long as we’re starting with self, we will always land on a foundation made of jello. Because we aren’t a big enough of a foundation to build our lives on. When we start with self, we make all of life’s decisions based on how it affects us and how we are going to get more out of this side of the argument or that. We aren’t deciding based on the merit of either side of the argument. We’re deciding based on our own selfish agenda and how whichever side of the argument is going to benefit us the most.

What is your motive for making decisions about work? Do you make the decision based on what’s best for the company or what’s best for you? Do you decided to quit in the middle of an email because the clock hit 5 and you’re not going to get paid to finish it or do you finish it because it’s best for the company that you do?

What is your motive for making decisions about your family? Do you think about what’s best for the family and then make your decision, or do you decide based on what’s going to better benefit you personally?

What is your motive for fighting for whatever issue you fight for? Is it because you want to stand up for what’s right, and you’ve stopped to actually come up with the facts about what’s right? Or is it for a selfish reason that you’re taking this stand? Were you offended by someone in the past who held this view, so now you hold the opposite view?

Second Tier Selfishness

Are you standing up for someone who was hurt because of their view on Tupperware cups? And your motive is to make it right for them? While this is a little bit better of a stance, it’s still not the best. It’s what I call second tier selfishness. Just because someone was hurt for their stance on Tupperware cups, doesn’t mean they held the right view on Tupperware cups (let alone whether or not anyone should even have a view on tupperware cups).

Is it good to stand up for people? Absolutely. It is good to blindly stand for an issue because you’re trying to defend someone? No.

What Do We Do?

Well, first we have to be aware of our selfish motives and be on the lookout for how we are making decisions based on our desire to make the universe revolve around us. This means we have to humble ourselves. We have to walk humbly.

We start by Loving God and Loving others. We let that be what guides how we make decisions. Not ourselves, not our own desires and agendas – but God and others.

Then, we make our decisions based fighting for the inherent dignity of others. That doesn’t mean we stand up for the issue or believe in it. What it means is we believe that every person is made in God’s image. And since they are made in that image, the bear within their very nature – dignity.

And we take stances for issues based on truth, not based on selfishness and ulterior motives. We take a stand because it actually is the right thing to stand for. We don’t take a stand because it benefits us or even because it benefits a friend. We take a stand on an issue because it’s right.

And I think we could even argue that the stands we take should be limited to the dignity of the people at risk. If we fight for the dignity of people, we never find ourselves walking the line of a fragile issue. We may not agree with what someone is doing, but we can agree that they should be treated with dignity because they are made in God’s image.

That’s why I say…

…the issue doesn’t matter. It’s the people that matter. The issue doesn’t matter, what matters is where we start. Are we starting with truth and dignity or with selfishness and ulterior motives.

 

  • David,
    I’ve seen some crocks loaded with well, you know, but this one takes the cake. With regards to the issue of GMO’s, it’s quite obvious you’ve done little to no research on the subject matter and how genetically engineered foods are impacting the lives of people around the world.
    Were you to have had some of the personal experiences I’ve had, or even some of the personal experiences others have had with grave health issues, you might take a step back and reevaluate your words.
    The genetic engineering of foods around the world are a multi-layered, multi-faceted topic of discussion, and it’s a discussion which needs to be had for many reasons.
    Screw the sippy cups. That’s a load of crap, to say the least. You know, as well as I do, the Sippy Cup analogy is poorly chosen and ill intended at its conception and certainly ill stated simply because even a human will drink water from a hole in the ground just like a dog if he or she thinks it will keep them alive and meet one of their most basic human needs. Neither could care less whether they have a sippy cup to drink from, but I can guarantee you that if a reasonable human being were given the facts on which to predicate a sound decision about which type of food to nourish their bodies with, GMO versus Non-GMO food, he or she would unanimously choose Non-GMO food. That is, unless they’re a numbskull and are getting paid large sums of money to support the GE food movement.
    The topic of GMO cannot and should not be trivialized as it is when compared to a ‘Sippy Cup’ as a run of the mill controversy.
    Shame on you for not taking the time and opportunity to educate yourself before speaking on the topic. I staunchly recommend that, since none of us can possibly know everything, the least we can do is familiarize ourselves with a subject matter before we attempt to speak intelligently about it.

    • Hey Hawgdawger, thanks for the comment. I wanted to just follow up, because the article wasn’t about GMO at all. I’m guessing you arrived at my article through a google search for GMO, and just assumed my whole point was about GMO.

      This wasn’t my point at all. My point, was that we need to start with carefully observing the facts to come to an actual conclusion of the truth and then decide our stance. Instead of deciding our stance and then going to look for facts and arguments that support it.

      You are right, I haven’t done a ton of research. I have done some. But, again, I wasn’t taking a stance on GMO, merely stating that if we’re going to find the truth about such topics we have to approach them with truth-seeking in mind. We, have to, as much as we can, remove the filter we view things through and see them for what they really are.

      That said, I may do some research along the lines of GMO at some point down the road, and you and I might very well end up on the same side of the argument. As long as your view is based on the truth, that is a strong possibility.

      And, just so you know, I do have friends and family members who have cut GMO products out of their diet because it was causing them health issues. So, be careful with your assumptions. Because this article wasn’t about GMO and I do know people who have been affected. I made it a point not to take a stance on any of the topics I listed. My point wasn’t taking a stance on those issues, it was where we start.

      • David, Thank you for responding to my post so expeditiously. Time and energy are what some might refer to as “valued commodities.” I would say they are seemingly intangible resources which we should all learn to value and to teach the younger generations to do the same.
        This is why I extend my invitation to you to always be as bold as you may feel necessary to engage me. Why waste time beating around the bush? I, too, will endow the privilege of boldness upon myself, because that boldness is endowed to me by Yahweh’s Holy Spirit.
        If we can agree that our respective gifts of boldness are not those of our own, so as to avoid carnality of thinking as often, and as much as is possible; therefore, always endeavoring to bring glory to God’s Holy name, ‘Yahweh,’ then, we shall proceed. For mine is to put away the doctrines, dogmas, and religious traditions of mankind and to seek The One True God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
        Please expect to be offended by me, as I expect to be offended by you. The topic isn’t worth pursuing without the level of tenacity and conviction necessary to challenge one another.
        If you’re in agreement to these terms, please feel free to avail yourself to this link which speaks to the issues of what everyone refers to as “GMO’S.” While I don’t subscribe to all topics at this site, there is considerably reliable information linked to many of the research sites and facilities around the world.
        http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/monsantos-game-over-extreme-toxicity-roundup-destroys-justification-gm
        The future implications and already realized ramifications of this ‘Man vs. God’ topic of crossing the species’ barriers is impacting the lives of billions around the world, some of whom are purportedly part of the so called ‘Body of Christ.’ Let the segue begin…………….respectfully………….:-)

        • I will dig into that a little later. I’ve got a pretty busy day the rest of today, but I’ll definitely give it a look and let you know my thoughts.

          So, you know, it sounds like in a lot of ways we’re on the same page. A big part of me is, as you mentioned, with the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit, to discover the truths as they were originally written and inspired, and not how centuries of politics and doctrine have translated them to be.

          And to the offense thing: we may offend each other. But, when we’re pursuing the truth above our own agendas, there is less cause or need to be offended. As it’s no longer about me and what I think, instead it’s about adapting my life around the truth.

  • David,
    First off, while I’m certain some readers may have missed your point in writing this blog, I am not among those. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or college education, or even a high school education to figure out what you’re saying, and the the points you’re attempting to make. It is, however, easy to see the contradictions in your psycho-babble when compared against God’s Word.
    I’m very disappointed that you haven’t responded to this post prior to now. I’m uncertain whether I should perceive this lack of action as the inability to defend such a ridiculous commentary about ulterior motives and selfishness. Furthermore, your political correctness precedes you, and lemme tell ya, there’s no room for political correctness in the spirit or Heavenly realm, God’s realm.
    The subjects of comparative analysis’ are poorly chosen and serve to offend a multitude of people simply on the basis of ripple effect implications. Certainly, not simply on the basis of the categories chosen, but how each of those categories serve to impact health and human life and, ultimately, the salvation of man.
    Consider the following questions: Does a ‘Good Samaritan’ who, with nothing to gain, stops and assists a victim of a crime qualify as someone who is selfish? I’m just curious about the goal and intent of the words, and would like more clarification on what the criteria is before I, too, might be considered a selfish person. See Luke 10:30-37.
    Am I being selfish when I suddenly encounter a person being victimized by another, and I step in to assist in thwarting the process of this victimization? Am I being selfish if I simply look and say, “Wow. It sucks to be him or her right now?” and walk on by in an effort to preserve my won well being?
    Am I being selfish by doing what God’s Word compels me to do by standing up for what is right? Is it then, SELFISH, for a man to be such a good friend that he is willing to lay down his own life for another? Are veterans of the various U.S. military branches selfish by wanting to serve their country and countrymen when they swear and oath to defend this country against all enemies both foreign and domestic? See John 15:13
    If our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, who came in the form of sinful flesh as an example to us all, and who made himself to be of no reputation (Phillipians 2), stopped at the water well in Samaria (John 4) while on His way to Gallilee, showed mercy on the Samaritan woman, was He being selfish? Let’s face it, there is nothing more important on the list of hot topics than Jesus Christ crucified, saved by grace through faith, and the necessity to do as Romans 10:10 requires in order to be saved.
    I’m curious to know how literal you would like to be taken on your blog post. Was Christ Jesus, the only begotten son of the one true God, Yahweh, being selfish for humbling himself to speak with a woman who had been living in sin up to that point? Did Christ desire to bring glory to Himself or to Yahweh at the moment prior to, during, or after he spoke with this woman? The scripture isn’t clear about this.
    I would not presume to tell you what your life experiences have been to this point which would bring you to a place to write something so bold as you have written, all seemingly without regard for what God’s Word has to say about it. I will, however, ask you these things:

    Have YOU personally ever witnessed physical death? If so, and a a person was not born again, you may well have witnessed the death of a soul, also. Is it considered selfish to not want to see someone lose their physical life but, rather, to see and know that they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, according to God’s Holy Word by acknowledging and professing Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior?

    Have YOU ever spent countless days and nights in tragic and adversarial medical environments being vigilant to tend to the needs of loved ones or friends, to ensure that the proper level and type of medical care is being effected, administered, or coordinated all without a second thought as to whether you will be reimbursed for the expenses associated with such time consuming endeavors?

    Have YOU ever spent thousands of your own dollars on attorneys fees, again, without all hope or thought of reimbursement for your expenditures, while raising a precious child with special needs (disabilities)?

    Have YOU ever stood over an infant in an NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) watching that precious child lay helplessly with I.V. tubes and a ventilator, all the while praying the prayer of Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane, for HIS and OUR Heavenly Father’s will to be done?

    In the final analysis, do you still mean to widely espouse such an ill fated notion and definition of what it means to be selfless as opposed to selfish? Or, what it is to be primarily or secondarily selfish? If so, your choice will be to personally demonstrate exactly how lacking you are in empathy, life experience, and wisdom.

    • Hawgdawger, again with the insults, condescension and assumptions. I appear to have struck a nerve with you in this article, and perhaps God will use this in your life to do something greater.

      In the mean time, until you are able to actually read the article for it is, which is what I wrote, it would probably be best to end our discussion. While it may be your goal to troll the internet looking for blogs you can leave your negative comments on, I have no such agenda. Christianity has done more to defeat itself than the damage the outside world has brought upon us.

      You remarks and attitude towards my writing are very symptomatic of what the article is actually about. If you ever get to that understanding, we may be able to have an honest discussion about the issues.

      But, in my experience when arguments descend into ad hominem so quickly, there is little to be gained from continue to pursue the discussion. And as you seem pleased to tear me down with little to no understanding of who I am, what I do and what I’ve gone through in my life – I really don’t see the benefit of carrying on with this.

      One plea I have, if you must continue to troll the internet and be a voice of negativity, please stop doing so in the name of Christ. Perhaps a good reading of Proverbs, Philippians 2 and the life of Christ will give you a good understanding of how we are to carry ourselves in the world. The manner in which we live and speak is very important, and I fear your words are doing great damage to the cause of Christ.