Monday, September 22, 2014

1st person, 2nd person, 3d person

  As a quick reminder,
  • First person = I, we
  • Second person = you, you
  • Third person = he/she/it, they.
Each of these has its place.  If we are speaking of opinions or "how things ought to be", we ought to be talking to ourselves.  I think I ought to ________, that is terrific, but it is a first person position, in MY (first person possessive) opinion.  Christians often talk about "legalism", they are referring mostly to people who have taken their "I" opinions and tried to lay those on others.  This was the problem Jesus spoke of in Matt 23: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger."

Notice here that Jesus says to OBEY the law, but don't do it like the Pharisees, who want everyone ELSE to do it.  Private convictions are no problem as long as they remain first person.  Don't berate a brother or sister for their obedience to the law, they aren't legalistic until they apply their convictions in a second or third person way. 

The second person, "you" is the bailiwick of my people, the teachers of the world.  We are inclined, and sometimes paid, to tell YOU what to do.  

The third person is where we decide what the world OUGHT to do.  "They" should simply do this or that.  This reminds me of the quote, "Nothing is impossible for those that don't have to do it".  Often times, we teachers of the world want to broaden our teaching to third person.

I'm thinking that there is a better use of teaching and a better person to use.  I think (first person singular) WE ought to stick with first person.  It's not YOU who needs to do this or that, it is either WE who need to do it, or perhaps it doesn't need to be done.  "What's good for the goose...".

So on matters of personal conviction and opinion, let's keep it personal.  On matters of obligation, let's keep it plural.

I think we ought to help them see the truth of our opinion!

No comments:

Post a Comment