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“Burden of Proof” in Life

A father’s letter to a child

There’s a very basic legal concept called “burden of proof,” which you may know about. I’m going to use this as an analogy to explain a very basic principle of life to you.

It is important. So please read carefully. I don’t write to you every day.

In a legal dispute, a party who bears the “burden of proof” solely bears that burden to prove what he stands for.

You don’t need to prove that others are wrong. You just need to prove that you’re right.

The dumbest mistakes made by the smartest lawyers are that they would make very rational and logical arguments, even win such arguments, but at the end fail to carry the burden of proof that is on him.

It does not matter how logical you are, how rational you are, or even how justified you are. With the burden of proof, your only victory is to carry the burden, not to win other collateral arguments.

The same is true as a fundamental principle in life.

Everyone bears a “burden of proof” in life to him or herself, to family, friends, society, and ultimately to God.

I use the word “burden” not in a negative or pessimistic way. Not at all. I use the word in a very broad sense, squarely and objectively.

Perceiving that actual burden and having courage to carry the burden is the key for your success, especially since you have entered into adulthood.

This is fundamentally different from merely feeling the pressure in life and making a striving against it.

It doesn’t matter how well you can rationalize things. It doesn’t matter how well (or how bad) you feel about things. At the end, there’s only one question that is relevant:

Have you carried your life’s “burden of proof“?

Consider the objections and arguments you recently had with your mother. They only show that you’re very good at rationalizing things, even perceiving things, but that you are missing the point nevertheless.

The point you are missing is simply this: beyond and behind all those arguments, the “burden of proof” in your life is solely on your shoulder for you to carry.

To carry that burden, you must learn to judge (yes judge) yourself objectively or even harshly. Do not pamper yourself, but “buffet your body” (in apostle Paul’s words).

As to others, you must understand that other people can range from those who hate you to those who love you the most, but you simply do not judge any of them. You shouldn’t judge, and more importantly you needn’t judge.

But you must learn to judge yourself in view of your own life’s “burden of proof.”

This is not about morals or even mere personalities. It’s about whether you truly understand life or not.

Carry your burden, and be grateful for any help that is offered to you. It is your burden to find what works for you, not to prove that others are wrong. And it is your burden, not anyone else’s.

If an opportunity is offered to you in a wrong way, you should never despise the offer and never show even the slightest contempt. You overlook the wrong, but take the opportunity itself for your own sake. Even if the opportunity turns out to be also not right, you’ve already done the right thing and will be rewarded in your life for the right lessons you have learned.

Tell the difference between a problem and a temptation.

Facing a problem, your first priority is to attack the problem itself, not to protect yourself.

Facing a temptation, your first priority is to protect yourself, not to attack the temptation.

Unfortunately, we all tend to do the opposite, because we often forget about the life’s “burden of proof”; we often misplace it on others, or hide it under our emotions or feelings.

But we can learn, especially if we are obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who is the best teacher.

Once you start to look at your life from the right perspective, your whole attitude toward life will change. Once you have the right attitude, a setback in life is only an opportunity to find new ways to prove yourself.

God loves a sincere seeker and doer.