Saturday, March 14, 2015

Proverbs 30:12 Idealism vs Realism

Proverbs 30:12 doesn't mince words when it comes to describing every upcoming generation’s viewpoint that they are better than the one preceding it. Although the phrasing seems to indicate it refers to a single unspecified generation, really, time has shown that every generation feels that way about themselves.

For example, if you are now an adult, do you remember thinking to yourself (or maybe even angrily shouting it at your parents) “I will NEVER act like my parents do”? If you were complaining about how strict they were, likely when you became a parent, you realized what a protection some strictness has to actually keep your child safe, healthy and alive. If you were observing some imperfect vice of one of your parents, perhaps you didn't fall into it. Good for you. For me, such a thing occurred when I told myself I would never smoke. Sure enough I never did, but I did have other bad habits that could be just as self-destructive.

Teens and young adults have been observed as being very idealistic. I was such in my youth and with every successive generation I seen teens come with very opinionated viewpoints, blaming everyone but themselves for their place and plight in life. Although it is absolutely true that their parents are far from perfect, they fail to realize the same is true about their own lives. What does it take to acquire a kinder and more realistic viewpoint toward others?

I have seen this happen as young people begin to pair off, get married, and start having and raising a family. It is not long before their own children begin to show them just how imperfect they are as parents. For me, this happened after my firstborn got around age 3. As that child started asking questions, I soon realized that I didn't know as much as I thought I did. It was around that time that I called my parents and thanked them for my upbringing and even apologized for being such a opinionated, narrow-minded, self-righteous jerk. I’m not alone. I’ve seen this happen to others down through the decades. As each generation passes through their teen years, into young adulthood, and then become parents, they also go through these various stages.

Chances are that if you yourself now have children, even if they've never vocalized it to you, they have probably made observations about the things you do that they feel strongly about, enough to say to themselves “I will never do that!”

Is there any way to break this feature of the so-called “circle of life”? On an individual basis yes. It is said that the greatest lesson history teaches us is that we don’t learn from history. Although we might know facts about the past, unless we reflect on the lessons those facts teach us, we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over. That is why I say that only on an individual basis can this circle be broken. It depends on each individual to learn from the past and lessons it teaches us today. This is one of the main benefits of accurately learning what the Bible teaches because unlike secular history, the Bible helps its readers reason on social and moral lessons learned from our forefathers. For starters, is the scripture cited at the beginning. We need to realize that everyone is imperfect including we ourselves.

If you are still a youth living at home, let me kindly recommend to you that instead of becoming embittered against your parents or other adults, be aware that everyone is imperfect. Jesus himself, although perfect, continued obedient to imperfect adults (Joseph, his adoptive human father, and Mary his mother). As an adult, his focus was on proving himself loyal to his heavenly father. Although he surely could have complained about his imperfect human relatives, such is not even mentioned in the Bible. So likewise, learn to do your best and to be kind to others. Be as forgiving to others as you are so ready to overlook and sweep under the carpet your own faults.

(I know that some religions teach that Mary was perfect, however there is absolutely no scriptural evidence of that. The Catholics try to extrapolate that such had to be true, reasoning that since Jesus was perfect, Mary would have had to be perfect in order to carry him. But then that reasoning would have to be carried backwards through every generation, which immediately demonstrates how wrong such reasoning is.)

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