Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Ignoring the outliers

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Yesterday was kind of a big day for me. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, you can check it out here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait until you come back.

I have not admitted my issues with pornography to more than 3 other people, so like I said, it was a big day to step out and expose that to the world. One of the places I shared the information was on a Facebook group that I belong to. Almost everyone had something positive to say.

Almost everyone.

And, of course, who do you think I paid attention to all day? The outliers.

In software testing, whenever you get random results that don’t match the expected pattern, those are your outliers. Sometimes they are just hiccups, sometimes they are caused by uncommon edge cases that should never happen (but it’s good to document the results), and sometimes they are symptomatic of a bigger, unrelated problem that you weren’t looking at.

Here’s some context around what I’m talking about. The names were changed to protect the outliers.


140 people have liked it on Facebook so far. 3 people left comments here. 2 people retweeted the post.

But then, 2 people didn’t like what I said about a specific ministry, and, of course, that’s all I can think about.

Instead of ignoring the outliers, I keep looking at them and trying to figure out some way to move them into the expected results.

And, honestly, I think that is how many of us view life. The pessimistic viewpoint ignores the majority and focuses on the minority.

  • My life is full of blessings, but I don’t have the house I want or the car I want or the TV I want or the phone I want or the [fill in the blank] I want.
  • I get compliments at work, but the wrong person said something the wrong way and now I fear for my job or my stature in everyone else’s eyes.
  • My relationships are good, but I can’t let go of that one thing that person did that one time because I might have to protect myself if it happens again.
  • It was a great day, but that one guy who cut me off in traffic or took the last loaf of bread at the store or took forever in front of me in line ruined it for me.

The sad thing is, I’ve thought all of these things at one point or another.

We I need to develop more of a mindset like God has.

There is great gain in godliness with contentment.—1 Timothy 6:6 (ESV)

I have victory over sin. No one can take that away from me, no matter what is said.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.–John 10:29 (ESV)


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