Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect denotes a relationship between actions. Thing "A" occurs and then thing "B" ensues. Sometimes this sort of connection can be a learned response, such as when someone holds a door open for you (cause), a reasonable thing to do is to offer a heart-felt "thank you" in return (effect). What is interesting to me is how our own personal baggage and ways of looking at the world can really make a mess out of the old cause/effect relationship. The issue, of course, is that we view the world through lenses coated by whatever crap has happened to us along the way. Sometimes this leads us to react with "effects" that are not sensibly or appropriately connected to the "cause" that we perceive. Let me be specific with a recent example from my own life.

My Version - A friend of mine who had been a frequent visitor to my blog, had not left a comment in several months, even though I was a daily visitor to his blog. I perceived that the cause was that this guy had some issue with me or felt that I wasn't worth his time or decided that my writing was worthless. My effect was then to entertain retaliation in the form of looking at his blog negatively and to think seriously about cutting him out of my life altogether.

Reality - My friend had just started his own church plant from absolutely nothing and was working his tail off to get things off the ground. A million details to consider and attend to in just a few short weeks. On top of that, he was selling his house and moving in with his parents to help support his new church.

I knew what my friend was going through and understood a bit of how hectic everything was. Yet my mind still ran amok down some completely inane path for reasons that I don't fully grasp. This example is simply one in a long line of examples from my own life that I could tell you about. But one thing that I am slowly learning is that when I do have the opportunity to confront someone with something that is bothering me, I need to try to be patient, holding back accusatory language and anger until I understand things better and I can quiet my thoughts. Of course, I am far from perfect in this area and still mess things up regularly.