Monday, February 11, 2008

Maybe The Amish Commit Attribution Errors, Too!

Somehow I doubt the Amish have much trouble with road rage (you can click on the picture to enlarge it). Most of us non-Amish types probably don't have much of a problem with it either. More of us probably suffer more from "Road-Simmer" or "Road-Mutter," or maybe an occasional "Road-Condemnation," where everyone who passes us at excessive speed (that would be anything faster than you're going!) is a "maniac," while anyone impeding our progress is an "idiot." Some of us don't want to put that much thought into it, and just call anyone driving in a manner below our standards as a "moron."

We must be careful, however, that we are not committing a "fundamental attribution error," which is basically an incomplete (and often erroneous) judgment of someone else's behavior. It involves our well-documented tendency to explain people’s behavior in terms of their character, abilities, intelligence, motives (all their "internal" stuff!) while overlooking the way that their situation (their "external" stuff) may have influenced their actions.

This error is further compounded with how our judgments of ourselves tend toward the inverse of this problem. When we do something wrong, we tend to over-emphasize the role of external forces on our lives. An example: "I cut that guy off in traffic because I was late for an important doctor's appointment. He cut me off because he's a selfish jerk." For more info on this prevalent human mechanism responsible for a fair amount of our own unhappiness, go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_attribution_error

Or you could just remember the following:

Cut the other guy some slack, you don't have all the facts.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Pretty "golden" advice isn't it?)

Be careful. Luke6:37-38; 41-42 states, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you...Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye," when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Maybe the next time someone does something that offends you, or just bugs you, maybe a quick prayer for them would be a good idea before you let loose with your judgment. They might not be a "moron" after all!

1 comment:

Michael said...

Thanks, Bro Andy!

I am glad to see a teacher of the word putting Luke 6:38 in it's proper context. Too often in todays world we see that verse used to justify the prosperity gospel.