I find that I use at three different kinds of rationale in making decisions. The first is my aspiration logic. It is near flawless. It is filled with compassion and insight. It strikes a balance between the needs of an individual and the perspective of a community. Execution always occurs with flawless timing. It is as if nothing could go wrong.
In the heat of a decision a new kind of logic occurs. In this logic, one’s timing is always immediate. Whatever values and priorities I hold to be most true vanish in the haze of the immediate. Pragmatism dominates. The goal is to be intentional, even if it happens to be intentionally wrong.
Sitting in contrast to both is the logic I see in the rearview. Reasons trump logic. Perfection begins to creep in, no matter how many flaws were present at the time the decision was taken. Life lessons take second place to the need to look at the past with a sense of righteousness.
I am not alone. Across time, people look at her/his decision making through tinted glasses. In one case, a Centurion acted clear motives. Just a short time later, his logic changed. As he described it to his superior, “I decided that for his own safety I’d better get him out of here in a hurry. So I’m sending him to you.” (Acts 23.29) His rationale behaved like shifting sand.
As I bring my life into harmony, I find there are three keys to keeping my rationales aligned.
First, make intentional decision with an unrushed manner. Even instant choices have a moment of reflection in them.
Second, never be afraid to look honestly at the future or the past. Nothing is ever as perfect or bad as it seems.
Third, remember the sequence. In my life, compassion trumps justice. Listening trumps being right. Community wins out over self.
Striving to keep logic aligned with the values of the heart does not lead to perfection. It means that you will learn from mistakes while taking care of others along the way.