The Soapbox

A Personal Commentary by Mark Eidemiller


"Common Sense"

I've heard it all my life:

  • "Why did you do that? Don't you have any common sense?"
  • "Don't you have the common sense to understand (fill in the blank)."
  • "That was dumb. Where's your common sense?"

Et cetera.

Part of what I do at work is customer service. During the last regional cold wave, I heard many off-the-phone comments and complaints about people who would call in with problems that seemed to co-workers as "dumb" or "obvious."

OK, let's examine this. What is common sense?

By the way some people talk, common sense is something you have when you're born: a Common Sense Gene. OK, I'll bite. Let's continue this line of thinking. Assuming we all have the same amount or measure of Common Sense Genes at birth, then doesn't it follow that those who don't seem to have the common sense to - say, come out of the rain - must have lost something in their genetic makeup along the way? How did they lose it? Something they ate? Something in the air? Something in the water? Scientists could look for centuries, and God only knows what they'd come up with.

Now let's look at it this way: What if common sense is something you learn? Your experiences. Your head knowledge. Your instinct. The sum of your parts and experiences throughout your lifetime. That would mean that people who haven't gone through the same experiences as you have would not have the same "common sense" you have. Faced with identical pitfalls, you might be able to avoid it, and another person might not.

I like this theory much better. It's easier to understand.

But there's something that surpasses even common sense.

It's faith.

(Matthew 14:24-31) Common sense says, "Peter, get back in the boat!! You can't walk on water!!" However, Peter did step out of the boat, and did walk on the water. He kept his eyes on Jesus, who was already standing on the waters. He (temporarily) disregarded everything his senses were telling him about his surroundings. He disregarded all his fisherman's knowledge and memories of when he would go swimming in those same waters, off the side of that same boat. He also ignored the fact that (however he perceived it) he was openly defying the law of gravity.

(Genesis 7) Common sense says, "Noah, you really intend to float this big thing?? On what??" However, the rains came, and the ark floated. Noah stood firm by faith in God's promise. And he and his family were the only survivors of the flood that killed everything that breathed on the face of the earth.

(Genesis 22) Common sense says, "I can't kill my son Issac! You allowed my wife to become pregnant even though she was well beyond child-bearing years. Issac is the child You said would be the father of many nations!" But, by faith Abraham did what God said, trusting God to bring his son back to life even if he did sacrifice him.

There're more examples, but this will suffice for the moment.

Look twice at the man who "doesn't have the common sense to come out of the rain," and you might just find someone who doesn't care if he gets wet, praising and worshipping the God of all Creation with the joy of the Holy Spirit. You might think he's nuts....you might be right....but, then again....??

2 Corinthians 13:5 says "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Maybe the one without common sense knows more than you do. Think about it.



Any comments? Feel free to email me.
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