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Tuesday, May 17, 2005 AD
The Stupid Principle
RC has noted on occasion that included in our arsenal of interpretive weaponry should be this hermeneutical principle: If you see people in the Bible doing something stupid, don't say, "I can't believe they could be that stupid," but instead ask, "How am I stupid in the exact same way?"

I find this to be a useful question with which to approach not only Scripture, but life in general. While I failed to come up with an insightful answer in response to the hyphenated name issue I raised in my last post, I did find the display of another of my pet peeves to be an effective mirror this morning. I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some things for the day's sustenance. Two clerks -- the one scanning my purchases and another girl -- were chatting. They were completely oblivious to my presence. No greeting, no pleasant small talk, no eye contact, no smile, no thank-you. Ironically, the topic of their conversation was why one of them got passed over for the shift supervisor position she'd wanted. Uh...maybe because they take customer service skills into consideration?

Of course the insight into my own shortcomings was clear: I am too often involved in my own self-absorbed interests to pay any heed to someone I ought to be serving. What is my Internet addiction but one big conversation at the expense of my service to God and others? And at least the check-out chick was ringing up my groceries. Serving in even such a perfunctory, mechanical fashion would generally be a step in the right direction for me.

I also recommend this hermeneutical principle for those who struggle with forgiving others. The requirement to forgive as you've been forgiven doesn't mean to remember merely that God has forgiven you of some stuff in the vague and vast catregory called "sin," and that you therefore ought to be forgiving of some stuff in that vague and vast category, it means that whatever sin your brother has committed against you, you are more than likely guilty of breaking God's law in the exact same place. If you can't figure out where or when or how, perhaps you're not looking deeply enough. Or perhaps you should just assume that, in God's mercy, you've forgotten having committed that particular crime. Or perhaps you should remember that you're not dead yet, and there's a whole lot of sinning yet to be done, and maybe you just haven't gotten around to it.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 5/17/2005 01:48:00 AM • Permalink

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