Empirical Living

I don’t know where I came across this quote…(I think it’s someone’s wisdom that just floats around the internet)

“Don’t let your ears hear what your eyes don’t see, and don’t let your mouth say what your heart doesn’t feel.”

I’m frequently encouraging my social science students to think and speak more empirically. I want them to be more specific and think about what they can feel, hear, see, taste or touch. To take their ideas (or those of others) and try them out, to see if any will hold any water. It’s another avenue to finding the truth.

Each one of us needs to live a life that’s always in search of the truth.

I don’t know about you, but it’s usually easy for me to get fuzzy in my thinking. In fact, it’s a rather common phenomenon among human beings.  Our minds are filled with all sorts of biased thinking.

  • Have you ever heard of the Planning Fallacy? That means that most of us underestimate the time it will take to complete a task.
  • What about the Social Comparison Bias? We don’t like to hire people who we believe will compete with our own particular strengths.
  • Then there is the Well-Traveled Road Effect – we tend to underestimate the time it takes to travel frequent routes and over-estimate the time it takes to travel less familiar routes.

Without even realizing it, we all develop crooked ways of thinking, feeling and then interacting with other people.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

Does it have to be a cuss word to be considered “foul”? Sometimes, the most abusive words that I use toward others are little, bitty slights and slanders that I speak in jest. I do this automatically, without really thinking. My mouth is way ahead of my heart and soul.

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

To follow the admonition of this Scripture takes deliberate, intentional and selfless living. It will mean more specific thinking about your words and deeds as they bless or harm those around you. You will have to find ways to be much more conscious about other people and to fade away yourself. Once your heart remembers it’s own bondage, it’s so much easier to let go and forgive.

3 thoughts on “Empirical Living

  1. “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” I have been there, but tonight I reflect on the recent death and living faith of Kayla Mueller. After news of Kayla Mueller’s death was confirmed, her family released a copy of an unpublished letter that she wrote to her loved ones in the spring of 2014, while held hostage by Islamic State militants. You can read more at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/10/world/middleeast/document-kayla-muellers-letter-from-captivity.html.

    If she can face captivity and death that way, maybe I can turn from the beginnings of anger–a sigh, a shake of my head–and toward the righteousness of God, which is able to save my soul.


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