Friday, November 5, 2010

Driving Forces: A Life of Reason


"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord."

Isaiah 1:18a

I recently watched a trailer advertising a reality television show. It showed a woman pleading with an airline ticket agent to get on an overbooked airplane. She demanded she be allowed on the plane since it was the last flight of the day. She said she hadn't seen her 6-year-old son for the past several months and had to get home immediately. Over and over again, she screamed and pounded her fists on the ticket countertop to be allowed on the overbooked flight. As the story unfolded, she confessed she had been in drug rehab for the past six months. She claimed she needed to be with her young son since he couldn't understand the reason for his mother's absence. Her tirade became so severe that eventually security officers were called to contain her. Then the video clip ended.

At first I felt sorry for the woman. I imagined she was inadvertently separated from her young boy. Then, as more of the story was revealed, I felt disgusted. Her addiction, not the overbook flight, caused the separation. Why was it critical she get home that day since she hadn't seen her son in over six months? And, why didn't she care enough about her 6-year-old son to avoid using drugs in the first place? Finally, why was she acting aggressively? I believe this woman's behavior is an example of a life driven without the support of reason.

Reason is an important driving force in our life. It is our intellectual ability to analyze life situations. We use it to make logical decisions about our daily priorities. Reason puts highly-charged situations into perspective. It also enables us to develop strategies and helps us to problem-solve difficult situations.

We need a balance of both driving forces. A person who lives life only from emotions appears hysterical, whereas an individual who is driven by reason seems inhuman. Both make for fun television, but neither are easy to live with. Reason without emotions is cold. This individual appears computer-like and uncaring. Sheldon, on The Big Bang Theory, is a great example of a person who is driven primarily by reason. To be a whole person both driving forces, emotions and reason, are necessary. However, they must work together, with reason governing emotions.

As I pointed out before, Jesus was an emotional person, but he also used his intellect to determine his actions. He appropriately used reason. Logic governed his emotions. He often made interesting observations or asked questions about the situations he encountered before emotionally reacting. He was educated and used his knowledge to inform his daily decisions. We should strive to be like Jesus; to appropriately use reasoning in our day-to-day life.

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