Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WE WANT CERTAINTY

We all think we want certainty. But we don't. What we really want is trust, wisely placed. Trust is better than certainty because it honors the freedom of persons and makes possible growth and intimacy that certainty alone could never produce.


There can be no intimacy without trust. Let's say someone asks me, "John, is your wife faithful to you?" I say, "Yes." He asks, "But how do you know?" I answer, "I know my wife." He says, "But she could be fooling you. Wouldn't you like to know? Let's remove all uncertainty. Let's say we could create a 'Nancy cam,' and keep her under surveillance twenty-four hours a day. Wouldn't you want that?"


A friend of ours is a brilliant engineer. He testifies before Congress on tech issues. He understands our TiVo. He has a young daughter and in their house they have cameras that can be on her all the time. We joke that as she grows up, he will have a "daughter cam" on that girl twenty-four hours a day. I wouldn't want to be his daughter. More than that, I wouldn't want to date his daughter. And I wouldn't want a "Nancy cam" even if I could have one. I wouldn't want to know. I would rather trust, because when you trust someone, you give him or her a gift, and you enter into a kind of dance. When I trust, I take a risk. I choose to be vulnerable. When my wife in turn is faithful, we reach a deeper level of intimacy. There is no other way to intimacy and depth of relationship between persons than to trust.


In a world of objects and machines, this is not so. In that world we try to remove all uncertainty. We want to be able to predict. We want control. The world of persons is another world. When it comes to persons, trusting is better than predicting and controlling.


-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt




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