Sunday, September 7, 2014

Personality Test Results Give Practical Basis for Grace

I am inclined to be judgmental.  Please don't judge me.

My wife applied for a new job the other day. The company required that she take the personality test at as part of her application. When she read the results to me, we both marveled at how accurate they were, and laughed together about some of the descriptions. 

It was so much fun that my two adult sons (18 and 25) and I took the test, too. We were all going on a long drive together, and we took turns reading the results out loud as we drove along. Time and time again we were impressed how often the descriptions were spot on.

Turns out that I'm and ENFJ and the big bullet point for this type is "ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community." That is about as precise as one could be in describing my entire life building businesses, participating in church or community organizations, writing, and speaking. I get no greater joy in life than participating in the development of people (and things ... products, companies, books).

First of all, I'd recommend this test to anyone. Yes the first part is free and they will try and entice you to buy the rest of the results. We were able to resist that temptation, so can't help with any review of how good the paid portion is.

More importantly, we began to contemplate a bigger issue. If are personalities are this easy to derive from answering a series of questions, and if those closest to the individual can easily see the results as being largely true, it may follow that those personality traits are locked in pretty tight.  We may be able to improve on our strong points and work on the weak ones, but as the serenity prayer points out, it may be a wise choice to be okay with some things we are unlikely to change.

But how about the rest of the crowd. Can our friends, family, coworkers, bosses, and associates be content with those aspects of our personality that are hard wired and may not ever change by much. Would understanding that my over-the-top optimism and limited range of feelings is as hard to change in any meaningful way as my height or my eye color going to help keep my crowd from judging me harshly?

Well, one might think so.  Except, judgmentalism is one of those personality traits. So, if I have that personality trait, and I do, it is going to be hard for me to overcome that one.

I suppose this might have something to do with the whole "grace" thing. I may be inclined towards a certain negative trait, but Jesus in me is the solution. On the other hand, expecting grace from those who have the judgmental trait, especially if they are unsaved, is a real stretch. 

Bottom line for me? Understanding the mechanics of the other humans in my life appeals to the thinker/analyst in me, and should help me to be less judgmental in my flesh. Now I can appeal to the Holy Spirit to help me with the rest.

And you say?  Are you judgmental? Do you agree that these personality traits are hard wired?


  1. My family has had fun taking this same kind of personality test. If you want a greater understanding of the personality traits, I recommend some books by Ray W. Lincoln. a John 3:16 network author. The one I have is specific to raising children, it's called, I May Frustrate You, But I'm a Keeper! He also has one specific to marriage.

    He explains the Judgment part very differently, so you might check that out. I do think that our personalities may tend towards being judgmental, but I've also found that it is one of the generational sins in my family.

  2. I'm IHFJ, so we have a pretty close affinity! Extremely high on the "I" part, though. Yes, while it's easy to say "that's the way I am" it is difficult to accept that in others who are so different. I'm high intuitive, and my husband is very low. He has to have all possible facts. It frustrates me, and then I remember God made us complementary. So easy to never see the plank in our own eye.