• David McNitzky


Recently I came across a piece of advice from almost 1000 years ago. It is from a great Jewish philosopher and scholar named Maimonides. In discussing how to overcome a negative characteristic, he noted: “If a bamboo cane is bent in one direction and you wish to straighten it, simply holding the cane straight is of no use, for it will spring back. You have to bend it in the opposite direction and then it will straighten.” In other words, to fix a negative behavior we must over correct or oversteer in the opposite direction. So, for example, you would like to become a less stingy person, don’t just try to be a little more generous in the coming days. Instead, be exceedingly generous and giving of your time talents and treasures at every opportunity for a period of time (He did not specify how long that it would take to correct a bad habit). Let’s say you have a problem with your temper; don’t just try to control it a little better, set up a penalty for every time you lose your temper-You could skip a meal or abstain from TV or social media or even pay a penalty fine to charity or engage in a physical exercise which you do not like to practice.

Recently I have noticed that I have a problem of being over critical and judgmental about people who hold differing opinions from my own. At first I tried not to think bad thoughts about them. Next I tried turning off the picture or the sound whenever I saw or heard the person so as not to have to be exposed to them. Finally I have decided to over correct in this way: when they say something with which I disagree I try to think of at least two or three good reasons why they hold the position that they have expressed. I try to oversteer from the negative to the positive. At this stage, I’m not sure how well this over steering is going to work or how long it will take to work, but it is certainly worth a try.

Is God calling you to correct something negative in your life? You might try over steering.


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