Monday, October 15, 2012


I have been told that I am difficult to argue with. In attempting to take the criticism to heart, I have poured a lot of thought over this stone of contention, and I think there are two conclusions I have reached.

The first will not be very enlightening: I am a Jackson male. Jackson men are notorious within the Jackson family for a stubbornness that rivals a certain animal that shares a similar character flaw as well as a namesake (for a good laugh, insert a colorful name for a mule between "Jack" and "son"). At family gatherings, good sport is had by all by way of pointing towards this well understood fact, especially by the significant others who have to endure such behavior. It's not that we're inherently contentious so much as strongly persuaded in our beliefs.

The difficulty comes in the form of pride. It is easy for me to be sure of myself and questioning of others. I don't think this is a Jackson tendency as much as it is a shared trait of the family of mankind. I can be blinded by my own sensibilities rather easily. I have learned to tread carefully through the paths of confidence, and am working hard to question each step. The ironic part is that with each step, I become comfortable, complacent. Falsely confident. And the trail slips away on a turn I didn't see leaving me lost in the woods of my own ego. Again.

It's one of many daily internal struggles we all fight. If you see me stumbling in the woods, I'd appreciate any sincere help you may have to offer. I hope that I would be able to respond to such charity appropriately. For your own sake, tread carefully. I'm a little stubborn. Bear with me while I work on it.

The second conclusion I have come to is a little trickier. It's easy to confuse confident deliberation as an arrogant display of the previous affliction. Naturally, it's easy to disregard what is being said with this assumption in mind. But discernment reveals that motive is the difference between pride and concern.

Might I suggest that we, as people, are so timidly arrogant as to run at the first sight of confrontation. In today's environment, there is no room for addressing a person directly. As previously stated in other posts, our American sense of individualism pervades all such that I keep to myself and you keep to yourself. Anyone who says otherwise is obtuse and offensive. The easy way out of this dilemma of "uncomfortability" is to avoid it at all costs. If it doesn't make you feel good, it must be bad, right?

Where, in such an environment is there room for the dissemination of wisdom? Doesn't such behavior promote stagnancy and inhibit growth? Isn't fellowship meant for purpose and not platitude?

As previously attested, I choose to reject the theory that a true friend is an enabler. When presented with a problem, I elect to face it head-on. I need to make sure that I approach the scenario out of love and concern for the other person and not selfish reasons. Yet, not approaching the problem is to pretend it doesn't exist. If I were the sole possessor of the knowledge that cancer existed in a friend, would I not inform them?

I am not the sole possessor of any knowledge. All knowledge that I have obtained is not my own. 

"That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
'See, this is new'?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who come after."

I have spent most of my "unique" life, if I am honest with myself, in emulation of those whose walks I treasure and respect. I have learned on the backs of others multiple times more intelligent and insightful than I will ever be. It is for this reason that I have confidence in presenting what I believe to be truth: these truths are not mine.

If I have conviction, it is because, like most everyone else,  I have grasped blindly for answers to difficult questions. If I have conviction, it is because I have listened to the voice of honesty in the darkest hours before dawn. If I have conviction, it is because I have stumbled headlong into despair and sought out the source of all knowledge. If I have conviction, it is because righteousness is not something I can grasp, but exists outside of me. I can neither define nor manifest it without perverting it with my own failures.

If I have conviction, it is because the authority that determines morality is not of me, but of the One who commands all wisdom.

Perception perverts truth. But truth transcends individualism. I will champion truth. Others may choose to see it as personal perception. But my confidence is derived in that it is not of me. With such conviction, I will not bear the injustice of fear. I will not be paralyzed with selfishness. I will not render love lifeless with indulgence. If I am convinced, I must live as one convinced.

Job 32:8

© 2012 Seth Alan Jackson