“Highly Subjective”

Lessons can and should be learned in every moment of every day, you just need to look for them.

Somewhat recently I wrote a fun little short story. It could be classified as a goofy adventure story, a mystery thriller, or a thought piece. Hopefully, it’s a bit of all three.

Well, after tweaking it, editing, asking friends to read it, and more editing, I finally decided to send it in and see if it was worthy of publishing. So, I sent it into four different short story publishers. (I will send it to more, but I wanted to start small since I’m not in a rush.)

A few days ago, I was sitting on the couch scrolling through my email when I came across a message from one of the publishers I was waiting to hear back from. My heart began to race, but I fought to keep my expectations small and my emotions in check.

I opened the email.

“Thank you for submitting blah blah blah…to the blah blah blah…” I read quickly and the words on my screen prompted me to look up and announce to my wife.

“Here it is honey! My first rejection letter!”

“Congrats babe! Proud of you!” was her response.

Yep. You read that right. I got rejected and my wife congratulated me. She was proud of me.

Why?

Because we had already talked about the probability of rejection. Back when I was deciding whether to send in the story or not she encouraged me to do so. And when I asked, “what about when I get rejected.” Her response was perfect. She told me about a famous author who had been rejected hundreds of times before her novel was finally given a chance. And she told me how that author went on to sell millions upon millions of copies of her books. She reminded me that getting rejected might just be the first step towards success and that I shouldn’t be discouraged.

I have a pretty awesome wife huh!?

Well, aside from the encouragement to persevere there was another lesson that I was reminded of. As I re-read the letter my eye was drawn to a specific phrase. “This isn’t a reflection on your writing. The selection process is highly subjective…”

Subjective is an interesting word. It is defined as something “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.”

Ok, that’s all well and good, but what would the opposite of subjective be? Is there anything that is not based on personal feelings, tastes, or opinions? Is there anything that is just universally real and untouched by the whims of people? Is there truth that is unchanged and unaffected by our particular views?

Yes.

2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”

Hebrews 4:12 proclaims “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

2 Peter 1:20-21 tells us, “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Hebrews 13:8 exclaims that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Malachi 3:8 reveals, “For I the Lord do not change.”

There is, thankfully no subjectivity when it comes to who God is and the truth that He has given to us.

He is God.

He is truth.

The Bible is God’s Word.

The Bible is truth.

I am thankful that there is a real truth that is not subjective.

I am thankful that the promises found in the Bible are not subject to the whims or opinions of people.

I am thankful that God’s love for me is not based on my own feelings.

And I am thankful that I have a Savior who does not change.

 

These are all great comforts to me in the midst of a highly subjective world.

I Ate All the Blueberries

Sorry honey, they are all gone. I guess we will just have to get more…

This last Saturday my lovely wife and I took a trip to Costco for the free samples. While we were there we also did some shopping. My favorite purchase of the day was a 2 lb. box of plump, juicy, mouthwatering blueberries.

Now, I know what you are thinking. What did we need 2 lbs of blueberries for?

We needed them for eating, of course!

So, over the next few days, I did just that. Eat blueberries.

I ate blueberries so much so that earlier today, I actually found myself typing the words, “how many blueberries is too many blueberries?” into the Google machine.

I was happy to read the very first sentence my search produced. “When it comes to fruits, you can’t go wrong with blueberries.”

The article went on to talk about serving sizes and whatnot, but at that point, I didn’t care anymore. I got the answer I was hoping for and that was all that mattered to me.

“You can’t go wrong with blueberries.” That phrase was really the only thing I remember reading because it was really the only thing I wanted to see.

And that got me thinking, we as humans tend to be harmfully selective in our fact-checking. Often-times many of us will only focus on what we want to hear and see while ignoring the rest of the facts. The results are an incomplete picture of the truth. And an incomplete truth is a complete fallacy.

In this case, I stopped reading the health article because it’s first sentence justified my actions. I didn’t feel guilty gorging myself because, in my mind, the article told me it was “o.k.”

This seems like a really silly example but the underlining problem, for many of us, can be much more harmful.

Selective and biased fact-checking has led to the rise of “fake news” (from both sides, by the way.) Media outlets run stories that are designed to make us either feel good about ourselves or to be outraged at someone or something else. All this is done in an attempt to allow us to justify our feelings towards those topics or people. Remember, an incomplete truth is a complete fallacy.

Or to put it simpler, a half-truth is a total lie.

Incomplete facts often lead to wrong actions for wrong motives. That’s why the Bible, in 1 Thessalonians 5, tells us to “test everything” and to “hold fast to what is good.” The instruction is there because we humans have a tendency to so easily be led astray by “nice” sounding half/incomplete truths. That’s why we need to always be doing full and unbiased fact-checks in our lives.

So, here is a list of things/people that you should always be fully fact-checking:

  • Your Facebook feed. (Do I really need to explain this one…)
  • Your favorite pundits. (Don’t get tunnel vision.)
  • Your friends. (Even people who love us can accidentally lead us astray.)
  • Your family. (Even people who love us can accidentally lead us astray.)
  • Your Pastors. (Even people who love us can accidentally lead us astray.)
  • Your own heart. (Jer. 17:9- The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.)

My final thought as I finish this final handful of blueberries would be the most important one: we need to be fact-checking against the backdrop of the Bible. The Word of God is everything we need for life and godliness, (2 Peter 1:3) and God has given it to us for our benefit.

If it doesn’t line up with the truth of the Bible, then it is an incomplete truth…and we all know what those are.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9