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When I was in my early teens, I recall hearing on one of the "entertainment new shows" that a very famous celebrity had spent a large sum of money on a pair of sunglasses. I dont remember the exact amount but it was in the tens-of-thousands of dollars. When I heard this, I had two immediate and unbridled reactions, first; I was bug-eyed and wide-mouth at the price, second; I was angry at what I judgmentally considered to be way-too-much obsession with something so irrelevant to true human need. In my view, this was an egregious, wasteful and selfish acquisition in a world filled poor and suffering people in need of help from their fellow man, I was angry and disappointed.
Several years later, as a very young adult I was sitting at a bus-stop waiting for my public transportation ride to work. I was wearing a pair of "Ray-bans" that were a very popular brand of sunglasses at the time. A man who appeared to be homeless and in need of food, shaving, bathing and clothing sat next to me and asked me a question, "Man, those are some nice shades; how much did you pay for those?" I replied, "About $80" I had picked them up from a pawn shop, and they sold for around $300 new. In my head, that was a great bargain and I assumed Id made a prudent purchase. After I had told the man sitting next to me the price I had paid, immediately; I was transported back in time to the day-hour-minute and second that I had heard about the spectacular spectacle purchase that angered me as a youth. The expression on his face when he heard I had paid 80$ for sunglasses was the same as my own had been years ago; he was both shocked and angered. He told me, "I could have had food for weeks for that kind of money..." he continued to tell me what all he could have done and each word was like a heavy weight that sunk me lower and lower in to my soul as I felt so hurt, as if I had insulted him.
I learned a very valuable lesson that day, the magic of perspective. Often, when it comes to others, we see things in a way that allows us to be judgmental of them in a negative way. However, when we must look at ourselves we like to shift our perspective to one that allows for a much more forgiving and even self-righteous opinion of our deeds. This is possible using a tool that humans have master using; the art of rationalizing. Rationalization is (in my opinion) the art of lying to yourself in its most dangerous form and/or the art of selective reasoning in its least hazardous form. My own judgment concerning the sunglasses is an easy and partially harmless example of rationalizing. However rationalizing has more dangerous uses like racisms, child molestation and terrorism. Being able to see these atrocities in a way that allows many to feel as if they are doing the right thing is a poisonous cup from which many in the world drink from and scoff at those of us who dont!
Because man is flawed in his rationale, God has given us instruction on the proper perspective from which to view things. The Bible teaches us right from wrong and clearly guides us in the maze of human uncertainty using divine wisdom and enlightenment:
Matthew 7:1, 2 (KJV)
"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
Matthew 7:4, 5 (KJV)
"Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye."
There is no need to see things from any perspective that allows you to pass judgment on others because 1) it is not your job, its Gods job and you will only bring about judgment on yourself, 2) you should be so busy taking care of whats wrong with you using bible study, prayer and acting out on faith that you dont have time to worry about the guy across the street other than praying for him, quoting him the scripture and inviting him to receive the same free gift of salvation you have already accepted.
Rationalization and perspective can benefit us when we use the scripture as the prism that helps us see things the way God wants us to see them. Otherwise they are dangerous tools in their worst uses or controversial and confusing tools in their least harmful forms. Although they may not always put us at the danger of being judged to damnation by God they do always lead us to the limits of human frailty and imperfection.