Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Satisfied/dissatisfied vs. right/wrong

I had never really thought about this but my counselor was explaining the subtle yet important difference between thinking of things in terms of whether I am satisfied or dissatisfied, and thinking in terms of right and wrong.

For instance, if someone accuses another of doing something 'wrong,' what they are saying is that the person has committed a sin of some sort (a "wrong"). It is some type of moral or ethical failure. And this may certainly be true. However, often we will accuse people of wrong-doing (or at least think that way), when they haven't really committed a 'wrong,' they have merely done something we either didn't want them to do or they have not done something we wanted done. We were not wronged, but were, in fact, merely dissatisfied.

As an example, say someone is not happy with how often I visit them (as their pastor). That is not a 'wrong'... I have not sinned by not visiting them. They are merely not satisfied with how often I visit. Now, the truth is, their dissatisfaction may be my fault - perhaps I am not living up to the expectations placed on me occupationally. But on the other hand, there are also people who could be visited every day of the week and it still wouldn't be enough. So I have to determine if the expectations are valid, and also if the grief I suffer outweighs the seriousness of the level of satisfaction.

Anyway, I certainly don't have it all figured out, but I have recognized a number of times already where I have thought people were 'in the wrong' when actually I was just not satisfied with what they did or did not do. It makes a difference.