“A man generally has two reasons for doing a thing. One that sounds good, and a real one.”
That’s from the practical wisdom of J.P. Morgan, one of most influential bankers of the early 20th century.
Of course, then there are those who are a bit more honest about their motivation, like Phyllis Diller:
“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”
On the one hand:
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
On the other hand:
The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion out there!
If I go outside, I might be killed!”
Why is one cautious person congratulated for being prudent while the other is vilified as a three-toed sloth?
It really all has to do with motive.
The prudent (wise, forward-thinking) one “foresees”, meaning he’s diligently done his research and understands the probabilities (are lions endemic to this area?), and based on those probabilities, he may take his gun out with him and search the area before proceeding.
The lazy person, by contrast, stays on the coach and opens another beer…because that’s what he really prefers to do. Making excuses for his decision assuages his own conscience, regardless of how ridiculous those excuses seem.
In fact, humans are probably the only part of God’s creation who uses the art of rationalization, that finely tuned skill of making excuses, even deluding ourselves into thinking those excuses are true.
Here’s interesting application: “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it.”
I’m glad medical students don’t adhere to that philosophy: “I don’t read my A&P text because I don’t understand it.” A student—a real one, that is—does something about their lack of understanding.
And for my sake, I’m glad they do!
Proverbs 22:3,13 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.