No one's good but God.
Once you finally internalize that, you lean on Him because you realize, I'm not always seeing things clearly. There's a way that seems right to me, but it might lead to death. Jesus Himself is saying, you all have a self-righteousness problem.
You're justifying yourself. You can't do it. You can't, so if one of you, He turns to a crowd, He's in a crowd. If one of you will repent, rethink literally what that means, humble yourself, all of heaven will party. Welcome to Family Life Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most, I'm Dave Wilson, and I'm Ann Wilson, and you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So do you remember the argument we had with our really good friends, Rob and Michelle, in our kitchen?
I don't know how many years ago. It was an argument about which way is true north out of our kitchen, and they live in our neighborhood. They literally live a couple of blocks away. I'm just going to say, we were yelling.
Yelling. Like, no, there is no way that that's north. We were standing over the window pointed, that's north.
They're like, you guys are stupid as people. You lived here. It's there. Like, no, it isn't.
And here's the funny thing. I pulled out my phone, and there's a compass. Not that night.
They left, and they came up later, and I pulled out my phone, and I'm like, oh, my goodness. They were 100% right. No. They still weren't. I said, I still think your phone's wrong. She said that last night, Bran. I said, I remember that fight. She said, they're wrong.
I'm like, honey, it's been proven. And I watched the sun go down. I know that's the direction. That's fascinating. They didn't have phones and compasses, you know, back in the day. They just watched where the sun goes up.
That's east and west. The fact that you still think you're right is just crazy. And we've got Bran Hanson in the studio with us today.
Mr. Wright himself. Yeah, totally. No, that's fascinating, because if you've studied cognitive biases at all, like you get into cognitive science, but there's this thing where if you say something, you hear yourself say something, it's very difficult to convince you that you're wrong. Come on, don't say this, Bran. Well, I mean, but we all will double, triple, quadruple down. But the force of it, if we hadn't said anything, we could have pivoted more easily. But since we heard ourselves take a stand on it, it's very, very difficult. So you're saying scientifically, this is true. Scientifically, we're all crazy, is what I'm trying to say.
Because we'll do this stuff. And there's another thing called first information bias, which is whatever I thought first didn't take that much evidence. But if you're going to disabuse me of it, it's going to take like nine times more evidence.
Because I heard the other thing first. So that's just how humans work, but all these biases are justifying machines to make ourselves right. And it's actually a real problem. That is a problem.
Yeah, it's a real problem. So what's fascinating about that is these cognitive scientists, they're not coming at this from a Christian perspective necessarily at all. Like one guy, Daniel Kahneman, won a Nobel Prize. You listen to him talk about how deluded humans are about their own goodness. He's like, it's hopeless. Humans are so self-delusional about how right and good they are.
You almost can't break through. And what's fascinating to me is I'm like, that's what Jesus said. Right? I mean, so they're actually coming to these conclusions that are fascinating because Jesus himself is saying, you all have a self-righteousness problem. You're justifying yourself. You can't do it. So if one of you, he turns to a crowd, he's in a crowd, if one of you will repent, rethink literally what that means, humble yourself, all of heaven will party if just one of you will do it.
He's literally making that point. You guys find it so difficult to humble yourself and you say, I'm wrong. I need help or I've had it on the wrong track. It's so difficult for humans to do that, but it's so freeing if we're willing to do it.
Well, I'll tell you what, we went deep fast. This is so good. That's my problem. This is so good, I love it because he just proved me wrong and why I just did all of it. Hey, you know what, Brent? We all do that.
I love it because she wouldn't listen to a word I say. Even last night, I'm like, honey, I had a compass. They were right.
No, they weren't. I'm like, oh my goodness. I just read this book and it said you would do this and you did. And obviously- It's so prideful of me too. So, okay. But here's what's funny about that. And if my wife were here, she'd be fine with me saying this because we laugh about it. But there was a game, I forget what it's called, but it was similar to where you come up with the word definition that's fake for whatever that game was. Oh yeah, yeah.
Not taboo. It was similar to that, but it was like ask a question and you'd have to come up with where that phrase came from or something. Well, my wife each time would write down a phrase and she's very smart, but then we would like, okay, here's the real answer on the card. She's like, no, mine's the real answer.
She had convinced herself, she's brilliant. But that's what's really interesting is that you can be really intelligent and still fall prey to this bias of I'm right subtly without realizing it, but that's what human beings do. And in fact, if you're an intelligent person, you actually can be better at being wrong because you're so used to coming up with justifications and reasons why you're right.
You can come up with a list faster than other people can, but you're not as able, they've shown this with fascinating studies, smart people, educated people are better at being wrong because of that. Tell me why your position is right. Here's 84 reasons. Okay, tell me the perspective of the person on the other side, why they're right. Their best reasons. I can't come up with any. So if you're especially educated or something, you're just better at coming up with self-justifying reasons why what you wanted to be right is right.
And you can fool yourself even more easily than somebody who's maybe not as adept at that sort of thing. This is all in your book, The Truth About Us, which we're going to dive into in a second. But, Brent, I got to tell you, last time we had you on, we just loved having you here. And it's funny that I ended up down in your house a few hours south of Orlando playing guitars. You're like, bring your guitar, let's do some music.
So today on the drive in with Anne and our producer, Jim, I wrote a song for you. Oh, okay. I didn't write it.
You're going to recognize it. Okay. Excellent.
We changed the words. Sweet. Good. I like this.
I did not know this was going to happen. I mean, we did some Beatles at your house. Perfect. Perfect. Let's sing a song about Hanson, he's really cool, he's kind of funny and handsome.
He makes them drool, he's easily offended, get a clue, now I'm done because I'm winded. No more words. Nice. Nice. That's our little brain, Hanson.
I am honored. Hey, did you like the little like, he's really cool? Cool and handsome? We're trying to think what was going to rhyme with cool.
Couldn't be he's a fool because you're brilliant. Cool. But that went on. Jim came up with, he makes them drool. Was that you, Jim?
Yeah, that was Jim. It's a nice touch. I appreciate that. I think we have a future in this business, don't you think? I think we could write songs.
Anyway. That's awesome. So yeah, Brent, I know you wrote The Truth About Us a few years back. You've written some great books too. We had you last time with Unoffendable and re-released that, right?
Yeah, that just came out again, updated, expanded version, and then there's like a video series where... I actually hate being on video, to be honest. I thought you were great. I watched them.
You're really good. Well, so what they did to help me, because I said, I don't know if I can do this. They were like, what if we set you up in like a comedy club type setting?
So that's how they set it up. So I'm actually talking to actual people instead of a camera. And I'm like, okay, because then I can see people. It's just very, really hard for me to talk to a camera.
I just, I don't know how to do that. So anyway, I think it came off really great, and I know people struggle with anger and forgiveness. So hopefully it'll be a blessing to people.
Oh yeah, it's definitely a blessing. The first time I picked it up, actually, I was sitting around a swimming pool with Rob and Michelle, the same couple, and I just started reading the first couple of pages. I'm like, guys, this guy is not only deep and thoughtful, funny. And then I found out, you know, you do this every day on radio, you know, your show, Brant Hansen Show, right, and then the Brant and Sherry Oddcast, which is, I mean, it's hilarious.
It's so fun. But you cover fascinating topics, just sort of how you just ripped off all these things that are in The Truth About Us. Well, I sit down for a few hours before the show and I ask God to take the dog for a walk. And I'm like, I've got to come up with a ton of content. And I know people, if you're listening, you got a job that if it's a little intimidating every day, that puts you in a pretty good place because you're like, please help me. And I literally walk in and I'm like, God, please give me something that's a blessing for people, like that actually adds value to their lives wherever they're listening.
You know, maybe they're working in a hotel, changing out the bed sheets or whatever as a maid or maybe they're, you know, on their way to hospital to work or wherever that is. Let me find something to say that points people towards you creatively. And what's wild is like, he keeps showing up every day in terms of helping me do that. It's funny how he does that, showing up every day, isn't it? Yes, every day.
I can't think about tomorrow's show, which is good because I'm like, I got to come up with like 20 things to say. Like manna. Yeah. Just enough for today. Yeah. That's it.
I don't have any idea. And then I get through it. I'm like, thank you, Lord.
That was my daily bread. That was the resource I needed for today. And hopefully it's a blessing to people. So that's, that's what I've learned from having to do this over the years. Yeah. Well, you know, as I read the subtitles, very good news about how very bad we are. There's a part of you that says, I'm not that bad.
Right. You know, I know people that are bad, but not me. And even when you open the book, you say, Hey, just ask the stranger you're sitting beside in the coffee shop. If they're morally better than their neighbor. And they're going to say what? They're going to say, yes.
And this is the biggest self-delusion on the books because you can ask people like, it's the Lake Wobegon effect, right? Like you can ask people, are you a good driver? Oh yeah. Better than average.
Oh yeah. Like 75, 80% of drivers say we're better than average. This is my husband. Hey, can you just keep talking, Brian?
Don't let her say anything over there. He's the best driver on the planet. That's funny. And no one else can drive quite as well as Dave. I may not be best, but I'm definitely second. You're like F1 level, you would say. Oh my goodness. I am the worst in the car.
Just, I'm terrible. I said to him, like, I don't even know who you are in the car. It's like this different person comes out. It's like, it's turn on red. It's like, it's turn on red. It's like, it's turn on red. It's like, it's turn on red. It's like, it's turn on red. It's like, I don't even know who you are in the car, it's like this different person comes out. It's like, it's turn on red.
The lights, you know, there's nobody coming. I'm just inching up. In fact. Yes! Say it! Should I say this? You did it last night.
Yeah. We were coming out of a hardware store. I told Ann, we pulled in. I said, we'll never get out of this.
Look at this traffic. He's, he's the most positive person, but when it comes to driving, it's like, I want to get places fast. So I said, we will never get out of this parking lot. And I said, you know, I think that we will. I don't think we're going to be in this lot for the rest of our lives. Anyway, as we're leaving, there's one car in front of me and it's one of these deals where all these cars are going. And the only way you're going to get out, Brad, of course, you got to be a good driver to know this. You're going to have to inch out because there's going to be a stoplight and they're going and somebody's going to let you in. So the guy in front of me is not inching out and I'm like, I literally is going to go around him and do it.
Wait. And so Dave wants to teach people a lesson. And so he will get as close as he can.
He really needed to dish out some lessons out there. So he starts to inch out and I'm like, oh, good, good. I literally am an inch behind him and the guy won't let him. He puts it in reverse. He backs into me. He hits us.
He hits us. And guess what? He never even looked to see I was back there. Fortunately, no damage. Did you notice, though, that I said nothing?
You did say nothing. I'm so proud of myself. I didn't notice that. That's a big thing. Thank you very much. That's not a small thing.
It's not, Brad. Thank you. He doesn't need to teach people lessons and neither do you. That's a wonderful way to live. And I usually am trying to teach lessons to Dave about his lessons. We all want to teach everybody lessons.
We really do. And so that's what I was going to say about the driving thing is like, that's one delusion. But if you ask people, are you a better person morally than the average person? It's 90 some percent. So this is true. Yes. Like this is the biggest self-delusion we have. It's our goodness. We all think we're pretty good and you can go into prisons, you'll get this exact same ratio of people saying, yeah, I'm better than the average person.
It doesn't matter. Yeah. It's so human. So here's Jesus.
You can see consistently where he's trying to break through. Would you listen to me? You're not that, but the upshot is what's wonderful about this is once you actually believe this, there is good news here, not only about God's goodness to us and His grace, but the fact that you don't have to constantly be justifying yourself all the time.
That's a huge energy savings. Yeah. You're right. You can just say, I don't know.
Oh, whoops. I was wrong. Do you realize how much energy that'll save you in marriage to just constantly be, I can just drop it. I don't have to defend myself. Maybe I'm not the best person in the world.
No one's good, but God. Once you finally internalize that, you lean on Him because you realize I'm not always seeing things clearly. There's a way that seems right to me, but it might lead to death. I have to know that.
But the other thing is just the energy that human beings spend justifying what they already wanted. That's a fascinating thing that I ramped on a book by Jonathan Haidt. He's not a believer.
He's at New York University. He's a brilliant guy. He wrote a book called The Righteous Mind, but he studied human beings and he found that people think they have a rationality and that they will line up their beliefs based on their rationality, what they consider things. So I believe this, ergo, I'm going to do this and that.
He's like, that's not how humans are at all. You have emotions and intuitions and you will line up your rationality to justify what you already wanted. So let's say in a marriage context, I've seen this before with friends that start to fall in love with somebody outside their wives for guys I'm talking to, they start lining up reasons, including, well, maybe this Christianity thing isn't that, maybe I don't believe that anymore.
Maybe, but you can just see all these things falling into place to justify what you already wanted. So he's saying it's like an elephant and a rider. We think there's this strong elephant and that's our rationality and the rider just as our emotions just go along for the ride.
It's like, no, no, no. The elephant is your emotions and your intuitions and what you want and the rider helplessly on top of that is your rationality that just goes along making up reasons why this is okay or why I really want this. This is how humans work and he said it's very difficult.
This is what I think is fascinating for somebody who's a believer, who talks to people about Jesus and stuff. We think I can make a great argument and then someone will automatically believe me. They don't because they're being led by their emotions.
All these emotions are behind this. They're not just going to flip on an intellectual dime and say, oh, I see the error of my ways. Right. Logical.
You made a premise, a second premise, therefore a conclusion. No, I must give my life to God. That's not how it works. Well, is there also the delusion that we would say, oh no, my emotions aren't leading me.
My rationale is we wouldn't even see it or admit it. That's not, yes. And so you have to crack through ourselves to see how we do that, to see how we can lead ourselves astray. But what was interesting from Haidt's perspective, he says there's only one thing that they found that actually turns that elephant and it's not rationality. It's not reason.
If you're talking to somebody on Facebook and you want them to believe what you believe and you'll argue, it's not going to work. The only thing that works, he said, is this thing called relationship. I was going to say love.
Yeah. Feeling loved. That elephant starts to lean in because they know you. So their emotions and intuitions are tilted towards you because you're on their side. And now when you say things, they can hear it. Again, this guy's not coming at it from a religious perspective, but he knows how humans are built. Right.
So it's like Jesus is the most genius teacher, person, man, cognitive scientist of all time. And he's identifying you're not good, but live my way, except that I have a lighter way for you to live. It's actually more fun. You'll enjoy yourself more.
You can say, I don't know. You don't have to be in defensive mode all the time. You don't have to protect your sense of self-righteousness all the time.
It's a much lighter way to live. And it was his love that was so compelling that drew everyone to him. And the self-righteous, the Pharisees, those are the ones that were most upset because they were so contrary.
Jesus was so contrary to them. We're so bad at it. We are so bad at it. I mean, I'm thinking even in this generation, what's going on right now, a lot are walking away and I don't think it's because they don't believe in the rationale of what we're trying to say. It's we're not feeling love.
We're not seeing love. In fact, you remember this in your book, The Hundred, ranking the most influential persons in history? Yes. Yes. Fascinating. Yes.
Back to you. I was staying at a friend's house. He had this book on the coffee table. I'm like, well, this looks interesting. It was like, it's a book of the hundred most influential people in history. I'm like, I wonder where Jesus falls in here. So I open it up and Jesus comes in at number three and the author is not coming at it from a Christian perspective. He had Muhammad number one and then he had Isaac Newton number two.
And I'm like, I'll give you, Fig Newton's really good. But like the third thing, having Jesus number three, he said, Jesus would be number one by far if his teaching about loving your enemies actually took off. And that's something, but he's like, but we don't see that. But this is the most talked about thing in the early church. The most talked about thing in early documents is love your enemies.
This is the way of Jesus. We are different from others in that we love them. We want what's best for them.
We want to bless them. Like if that caught on, we'd be so different and the world would be so different. I thought that's so odd that a guy who's not a believer can perceive that from the outside because I think he's right.
Yeah. And the scary thing is, we all know, is when you take the truth that's true about us, which is obviously your book title and what you're talking about, we don't see, I guess the word would be how bad we really are. We think we're better than we are. Jesus said that. And we bring it into our marriage, we bring it in our home, and if we don't see it, it can destroy our marriage. In fact, one of the reasons you're back here talking about this topic is you made a comment, you probably don't remember, when we were talking to you last time about The Men We Need, your book about the men we need. By the way, if you didn't get that book last time, get it now.
It's phenomenal. I've been doing some teaching up in Michigan about manhood and I'm using all your stuff. Thanks. He's just stealing it. But he gives you credit for it.
I appreciate him being told. But you made a comment that Jim, our producer, said, we got to bring him back and talk about this. I'm going to replay it for you. And then I want to hear you just comment on your own comment. Maybe I'll rebut it.
We'll see. It's interesting. I read in another book, it was this guy who was telling the author, he's like, you know, I always thought I would defend my wife and kids if there's an intruder. I defend my wife no matter what. And I would tell myself, you're a real man because you'd grab a gun or you'd whatever you defend your wife, keep her from being hurt.
And then he said, but then I realized the intruder most of the time is me. It's my words that hurt my wife, or my lack of words, or my tone, or the things I say to my kids or my lack of, like, I'm the guy that needs defended against a lot of times. Like I can't be anymore. When I first read that guy saying that, that was so helpful to me, it like cut me to the heart. I think a lot of times I'm reacting harshly at some level because I'm feeling put down or threatened or something I have to, I have to justify myself all the time.
And it's like deflating a balloon or something like that. When you take the pressure off of that, like not having to defend yourself as the good guy all the time and realizing you could be wrong and there are other ways to see things. So none of this is a guilt trip, by the way, and none of it's like, we're just slime.
No, no, no. God created us and said we're good, very good, actually. But we've got this problem that we ate from this tree of knowledge of good and evil and we're having to live with this constant trying to prove we're good. That wasn't the design, you know, but you can see that this is the baseline human desire is to justify ourselves, even prove ourselves in life.
You can see people who are celebrities that have millions of dollars, got fame and everything. What are they doing? They're trying to do what they think is a good thing and then champion it to justify the fact that they've been blessed so much. And I think we all know we didn't do anything to deserve life. So deep down, we're all trying to justify our existence on this planet. And here's Jesus going, I will justify you. You don't have to.
I'm doing it. Like, well, that's a huge weight off. And that takes a lot of the steam out of a lot of discussions. Because once you once you internalize that you can say, you know what, I could be wrong. Okay, next thing, let's go laugh about something.
We just maybe short circuited two years of ice cold behavior. What a better way to live. That's the thing I'm increasingly convinced about, like in this book, The Truth About Us, but in all of the stuff I get to think about, like, Jesus is giving us a way to live that's a better way to live. It's a lighter way to live. It's a more healthy, physiologically healthy way to live.
It's a better way to have relationships. He's not just telling us this stuff. When we're told to praise the Lord over and over in Scripture, it's not because God's needy. He's not doing it because He's like, I need somebody to tell me I'm important today. Like He doesn't need it. Like He's insecure. Yeah, He doesn't need it.
What's it for then? It's for us. It reminds us of His goodness when we keep saying these things out loud so that we're not anxious all the time.
He's so good. He's giving us a way of life. When we practice this, we find life.
We find that life is better and these relationships at home go better because we're not having to do this anymore. He's my justification. Now I can say I'm wrong. I don't have to make up stories to connect the dots in my head about why I'm such a great guy. But the very good news about how very bad we are is that when we realize we're flawed, we're broken, the good news is in that moment, there's our hope. Yeah.
Here and now, the energy savings is immense. You know people make themselves miserable by having to justify that decision they made years ago. And cover up. Yeah, the wrong thing. And they'll go to their grave defending something stupid because that's how humans are. So the good news is once we realize, wait a second, I can say I'm wrong. You can get better at that.
I'm Mr. I don't know now. It's even frustrating. You do know where the forks are. What are you talking about?
I don't know. But I do say it saves you a lot of time and energy because there's a thing that humans do called confabulation and it's we'll fill in the blanks acting like we know even when we don't. It's so true.
I've never done that, but never. I mean, you just described half my life. Look at the time savings now, but you'll have like we'll come up with a story literally confable like you put a story together in your head, but instead of just saying, I don't know. Wow. And then you defend that story to the death. Why? You didn't have to do that. There's so many things like again, this is such a better way to live.
You can actually get back to just having fun with people at some point. Well, it's so interesting too, because there's both sides. Let's say because we've had this discussion, Dave doesn't know where something is in the kitchen. And my response is you have been in this house for almost 30 years. She said that last week.
How do you not know? I understand. So what does that say on my part? I know where everything is. I don't know a lot about most things, but I do know where this stuff is in the kitchen because I'm in there. But even my pridefulness in how I say it to Dave. Well, I also know why you're saying it. What do you mean?
Tell me if it's true, Brant. Why is she saying that? And literally happened this past week is she wants me to help her more in the kitchen. That's what's underneath there. That could be.
That's actually true. I've been married long enough to go. She really longs for me, not only just to know my way around the kitchen, it's like, join me.
Yeah. It's a common, but it's true. And she's right. I need to join her, but you know what? I'm better. We both get defensive. You do.
You do. But this becomes a practice to being able to say I'm sorry really quick. Even my wife has gotten brilliant about this. We've been married a long time too.
So it's like, some people think you're just calcified changes 32. Yeah. And she can sing. She can sing. She's great. She's brilliant.
Like I said, great singer. And she's gotten to the point just in the last couple of years where she's like, she'll catch herself doing what you just did. You know what? I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said it that way.
That's, that's not fair. And you know how good that makes me feel as a husband, like now there's this virtuous circle that can start happening cycle. Oh, I like that. A virtuous circle.
Yeah. Instead of, instead of vicious where you both say you're sorry more, one of the kind of has to go first with this ethos, with this way of life. And then the other one can start to get into it, but man, it just lowers the temperature of everything. And then you can have a sense of humor about stuff instead of, you know, the next day going through what happened the previous day.
Well, it started with this and then you said, and then you didn't in it. It can change the whole atmosphere of your home. Totally. Hi, I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Brant Hanson on Family Life Today. Dave's going to have a couple of extra words for us here in just a minute, but first, what if it was like that in our homes? What if it was like that in our marriages? What if it wasn't a vicious cycle of biting back and forth between one another, but it was in fact, as Brant said, a virtuous cycle of caring for one another, stopping in the middle of being vicious and apologizing? Well, it could change the way our marriages look. It could change the way our lives look.
Well, Brant Hanson has written a book called The Truth About Us, The Very Good News About How Very Bad We Are, an amazing title. Well, we want to give you a copy when you give online today at familylifetoday.com. It's our gift to you with a donation of any amount. You can give it familylifetoday.com or you can give us a call at 800-358-6329.
Again, the number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, here's Dave Wilson with the possibilities of what your home could look like if we implemented this virtuous cycle posture in our homes. Brant, you can agree or disagree in your marriage, in your home, and this would be in your neighborhood, in your workplace, it doesn't matter. If you were willing to admit, I'm wrong, I'm sorry, that could change the whole culture of your home. And be quick.
Somebody that just says, I'm sorry. Absolutely. I was wrong. I said this and I was wrong.
Yeah. And it could be about small things, but it's so respectable, and again, it changes the tenor of everything. You don't have to defend yourself all the time. God's your defender. It's okay. You can be wrong. We all are.
It's all right. What if we lived our lives in a way that wasn't revenge driven? What if we actually forgave people? What if we were intentional about moving toward the people who have hurt us? What if we pray for our enemies?
And what if we implemented this posture and it got rid of all the bitterness in our lives to help us to love people the way that Jesus loved them? Well, tomorrow, Brant Hansen will be here again with Dave and Ann Wilson to talk about all of that and so much more. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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