Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

Ever since the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the world has known about the danger associated with icebergs. Unfortunately, ships have been sunk due to these large blocks of ice as recent as 2007. The problem is that most of the iceberg lies below the surface of the water, largely invisible to one who might be piloting a ship. Sigmund Freud is known for being the first one to use an iceberg analogy to explain his theory about the mind.

Although Freud may have been wrong about some things, his assumption that most of the activity that takes place in our brains happens outside of our awareness has largely been retained. I think the analogy is also useful for trying to understand one’s behavior. As we go through our lives, we come into contact with many people who can be incredibly confusing. They seem to act with extreme irrationality. However, we seldom attempt to look at the iceberg below the surface. Like a tragic cruise ship, not looking below the surface does not keep us from being affected by what is there.
In Matthew 12, Jesus uses a different type of metaphor. He talks about a tree. He says that if a tree is good, it’s fruit will be good, and vice versa. Some people seem to infer from this passage that some people are inherently bad and others are inherently good. However, Jesus talked about making a tree good or bad, suggesting that this is a changeable quality. Similarly, “storing up” is also something someone chooses to do. 
It seems to me that Jesus was saying that what is below the surface matters. If we spend our days in silent desperate contempt, our words and actions will eventually reflect it. Similarly, Jesus is saying that one can recognize another’s heart by examining the fruit of their lives. Although we may only see fruit, it is evidence to suggest that the entire tree is healthy.
Personally, this is a very convicting. It means to me that I need to say what I mean and mean what I say. I need for my thought life below the surface to be reflect the mind of Christ. I also need to be constantly mindful of how others’ below-the-surface may affect what is above.

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