Yesterday, I finished reading a book entitled, Pinocchio Nation, which was co-authored by Steve Wamberg and Devlin Donaldson. The book talks about the our culture and the rationalizations that we collectively have created to ensure that our dishonesty is simply seen as normalcy. This book, along with another book I recently read, Radical by David Platt, is a challenging book based on the authors’ understanding that American Christians need a spiritual wake up call, to be truth-tellers and truth-hearers. The authors use anecdotes and statistical evidence to show that the current generation of students believe almost entirely in relativistic truths, the idea that there are no absolute truths as set out in the Bible.
No matter the anecdote used, the authors discuss three possible, however simplified, reactions to truth-telling, which is the main wisdom, I’d like to impart in this forum. The three scenarios surround a martial arts master and his three students. The master is attempting to test his students’ reactions to something unexpected and in a way teaching the difference between an outright reaction and a response to any situation. The setup is a tea cup on top of a slightly ajar door. The test is each students’ reaction to the tea cup falling when they come through the door.
The first student is a relative novice and kicks the tea cup across the room. The second student is a little better, opening the door and catching the tea cup when it falls, giving it to the master as a gift. Finally, the third student, who is only weeks away from being a master himself, notices the door being ajar and realizes something is up; as such, he finds a new way into the room, takes the cup down, and asks his master if he would like some tea.
The moral of the story is this: the first student reacts to the truth as though it is a threat without really thinking through the reaction before acting on it. The second student has learned to look at the truth of a situation, to catch what she can, and to respond calmly and learn from the situation. The third student has experience that shows him to look for the truth in every situation, leading him to value the truth and serve others with it and through it. I hope I can continue to grow in this way and begin to realize in myself where I have rationalized even the smallest of dishonesties.
This has been The Moral of the Story with Jay Ray.
Posted: May 13, 2011
In 2022, I am participating in two leadership training programs. This should be a social experience, so I am writing about it. Check out the full list of posts in the series here.