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November 06, 2010

the value of being predictable

"He's so predictable," my brother said.

"Yes, he really is." I chuckled just at the thought of our friend. His responses and attitudes are almost calculable. Silly guy, I thought.

Then my brother told me that I'm predictable. I didn't find that as funny. "No, I'm not!"

After chafing over my brother's comment, I began to realize the value of being predictable, in a character sense. Predictably upright, not predictably boring! When people make foul jokes, do they know that I will not laugh? When they are getting wasted at the Christmas party, do they remember that I always leave early in my right mind? Does my boss trust me with the company credit card, the important password, the big secret...without a qualm? The other day my coworker had a laughing fit because it sounded like I cursed, and she knows that I never curse, so it was funny to her, because it was so out-of-the-ordinary.

It is impressive to me to meet people whose characters are undeniably predictable, so that they are recommended wholeheartedly. Joseph and Daniel are two Biblical characters who stand out as men who were predictably holy. The epistles often contain references to individuals who are either commended or warned against. Paul's words about Timothy in Philippians 2 indicate a complete trust in Timothy's character: "I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel."

I like fun—but I want to be predictably holy.