Faulty Logic Leads to Lapse in Judgment

You ever get upset and do something completely irrational? I’ve gone almost an entire year without eating any chocolate (that wasn’t fair trade), but Saturday I almost broke that commitment. As I mentioned the other day, we were having a bad day with car trouble and all, and I was really struggling with how frustrating things have been lately. It hasn’t even been so much the circumstances that have created the problems, so much as I felt it was our convictions.

We have a conviction that debt is not a good thing and we are working hard to pay off all of our debt as quickly as possible. We have a conviction that ‘our money’ is not simply ours to spend on whatever we want but it is to be used to meet the needs of the community at large. These sorts of convictions have lead us to be hesitant about spending our money, hesitant about upgrading our car, and hesitant about doing other things that simply serve our own interest. All that to say, Saturday, when our car didn’t start, I had a clash within me between my convictions and my current situation.

I am a person of faith, which is what drives my convictions, and I was struggling with the fact that my efforts to be faithful had resulted in the current circumstances of a dead car, unnecessary spending on a taxi, being late and appearing irresponsible for a meeting, etc. Basically, I was mad at God. I had upheld my end of the bargain, why wasn’t God?

Here’s where I went wrong. Mad at God or not, my convictions have roots in more then just following particular rules. I care about my fellow human beings (which is probably why following a belief system that says ‘love your neighbor’ seems to make sense to me). The motivating factor in a lot of my good decisions, morals and convictions is love for others (I don’t often do the ‘good’ things though). Yet, this is where I almost broke my commitment.

I’ve chosen not to eat chocolate unless I know it was fairly made. That is, the reason I’ve chosen not to eat chocolate indiscriminately is that a lot of chocolate is made by enslaved children harvesting in cocoa fields in West Africa. They are why I choose not to eat chocolate.

On Saturday, I was at a workshop and after lunch they put out a bunch of snacks, all of which had chocolate in them. I was still mad that our car had not started, and I was brooding to myself about just giving up my convictions, seeing as how it had gotten me in the situation. Follow my faulty logic and I decided that because of the negative outcome of the car not starting (I was mad at God about that) I figured I might as well have a cookie, since that’s what I wanted. Have you ever been there?

Fortunately, I had enough sense to not do it (if only so that I could be honest about my selfish self-righteousness to you). I realized that those children working in the cocoa field had nothing to do with my car not starting. If following my convictions was only an effort to stubbornly follow some religious rules then they are worthless convictions anyways. However, if they are convictions based on my love for God and my love for my neighbor, then I should be careful not to so foolishly argue them away.

5 thoughts on “Faulty Logic Leads to Lapse in Judgment”

  1. Sure I’ve been there about a million times.

    As for the car, I don’t know how bad it is, but sometimes you have to know when to move on to another one. We sold our van and got a car and we’ve gone from fixing a vehicle once or twice a month to only replacing a battery in the last 10 months. We’ve saved enough in repair money to make up for what we paid and we’re using less gas and less pollution.

  2. From what I have seen and heard our purpose and plans need to be flexible – and we also need to be flexible as we get a sense each day of God’s plan and choose (or choose not)to move our life in synch with God’s purpose.
    Debt is not good nor bad, it just is. Usury, the act of charging interest above what would be reasonable is sinful. Getting out of debt is extremely important for a variety of reasons, but even this should be accomplished as secondary to fulfilling our purpose within our community and within God’s plan.
    It is also not a coincidence where we are right now in place and time. Look around and seek out what God would have you do right here right now. Are you in a good financial situation? Then use these resources well for His purposes. Is life a little tough and finances tight, learn to be a grateful receiver.
    That said – you really don’t need a new or better car – you probably should be looking for a truck or van. The community around you probably has many people who daily, and for years, have faced the turmoil of transportation concerns, and unlike you, have learned how to cope over time and suffered the impact of missed meetings and opportunities.
    So God puts you and all your resources, energy, wisdom and desires into this community in order to pour those gifts and talents into the people and to be a conduit of His love. Not going to happen if you hold back the resources.
    How many people would be blessed if they could get some help moving stuff around in a neighbors truck.
    How many folks would benefit by going to the market with you?
    Using the good income for your personal debt elimination is a worthy cause. But spending cab fair probably set you back as far as what was gained.
    Minnesota winters are brutal. Your family in a warm safe and reliable vehicle is also God’s wish. That same vehicle in service to the community I am certain would make Him smile as well.
    Love ya.

  3. hey brother,

    i wrestle with some of those same problems… recently i’ve begun to realize just how much good ole fashioned American pragmatism is mixed into my Christianity.

    a couple of years ago i was really mad at god b/c i felt that my church wasn’t paying me fairly, and i had served god faithfully but now god is letting my faith community rip me off. unfair!

    god not-so-politely reminded me (which is how god has to talk to me in order for me to listen 🙂 that he didn’t call me to be comfortable or even necessarily secure. he called me to die. and that’s the end of it.

    anyway… i hope all works out in the end. i am confident that god is working this for your good 😉

    many blessings!

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