The wrongest verse in the Bible


Proverbs 3:5-6:

5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

This is a real favorite of the preachers at the homeless shelter where I stay.  The standard interpretation, as I’ve heard innumerable times, is that the born-again Christian never has to make a completely arbitrary decision.  He or she has access to awareness of God’s plan or God’s will, and need only pray — and “wait on the Lord,” Psalm 27:14 — until a sense of direction, or an intuition or impulse, comes, which will make the decision for him or her.  In fact, one is to take no action until such guidance comes.

One preacher went so far as to sing a song about a man who committed the sin of thinking for himself.

It’s never worked for me.  As I’ve said elsewhere, “With every important decision I’ve ever made in my life, I wound up flying by the seat of my pants.”

So, in a recent session with my therapist, I was complaining about my ongoing obsession with race, and how I have lately lost many hours in controversial exchanges about race, when for my own good I really need to be focusing instead on the job search.

She said, “Why don’t you?”

Well, there are reasons for that I may detail in some future discussion about owning power.  The immediate situation:  I had no good reason not to.

So, on the subsequent walk downtown, I practiced.  Every time my mind wandered in the direction of race, I intentionally redirected it toward job search.  And again.  And again.  And again.  Each time, it was wholly a matter of arbitrary choice.  I had no impulse, nudge or intuition.  No cosmic sign ever appeared saying, “Go this way.”  Even that it was “right” was no motivation — though the rationale was that this would be best for me.

God’s only “plan” is that sentient creatures do as they will, and face the results of their choices.

The choices themselves, we make on our own.

Related:  Smoking, part 1
Related: “Lean not unto your own understanding”
Related:  Job search update
Related:  “God’s plan
Related:  Forgiving the cosmos

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