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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reality show drop-outs

26 If you think you know it all, you're a fool for sure;
   real survivors learn wisdom from others. 
(Proverbs 28:26)

Reality television is all the rage right now.  No matter the day of the week, you can capture some version of "watch me make a fool of myself" programming.  People were drawn to the latest wave of "reality" programming because it gave them a chance to see the "true nature" of how people respond under pressure.  It has the game show appeal of some prize at the end, but it also puts people in the "vice" of all kinds of pressure and then let's us see exactly how they respond to competition, disappointment, desire, and a whole plethora of pretty serious emotions.

Why are we drawn to this type of programming?  It is simple - we want to see the "raw truth" of how human nature responds.  We are curious, in a kind of sick way, to see if someone will "crack under pressure".  We might even compare ourselves with the person featured on the show, finding that we either admire them for their response under pressure, or find fault with their behavior.  We sit before the TV, removed from the events, yet we "think" we know what they are going through.

That is how it is in another "show" we taken in everyday - the "show" we call life.  We observe others, even ourselves, and make all kinds of judgments about each and every response we observe.  Our writer today reminds us that if we think we are in the position of knowing it all, we need to be very careful. That is actually a place of bondage - it is easy for a know it all to be tripped up, duped into action that may have a pretty awful consequence.  He tells us that "real survivors" learn wisdom from others.

I have had the occasion of being complimented by another because the other person saw something of wisdom in my response to a situation.  They may have even gone so far as to say, "I hope I would act like that in the same circumstance", but there is more to what they see than that response.  It took years to get to that response of forgiving when wronged, choosing to hold my tongue rather than respond in hostility, or to choose the path that afforded the greatest resistance!  It took years of observing those around me - of seeing how others respond in like circumstances.  It also took years of me seeing how my responses affected others!

If we want to be "real survivors" we will open ourselves to the learning of wisdom from those placed within our lives - believers and non-believers alike.  Each affords us an opportunity to learn the lessons of life that God so earnestly desires we will "get" some day.  We need to become observers of the reality around us - in the relationships we form, the ones we avoid, and the challenges of each of these.  In those learning moments, we gain wisdom - if we are open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.  If we are closed minded (a fool), we will just make the same compromises/mistakes over and over again.  The "reality" will continue to happen until we own up to our need for God's wisdom worked out in our daily walk.  

If you find yourself in the position of "reality show" repeats in your daily walk, perhaps it is time to "change the channel" and embrace what God would want to teach.  Your new-found wisdom could change the course of your life!