Today, I had someone make an insinuation about the relationship between my mother and I. It’s a two-letter word. You can figure it out. This person was upset at me over a situation in which I had no control. In fact contrary to their assertions I had a really good reason for doing what I did. But as was pointed out to me by a friend with whom I was commiserating, the person had made an assumption about me and then jumped at a perceived opportunity to knock me down a peg. While my desire had been to help; they only saw what they had wanted to see. And thus profanities were aimed at my being and sexual proclivities.
Immediately I began to think about my facebook feed and all the angry posts that had been filling it out. I thought about assumptions and the havoc they were wrecking on the sanity of my friends. One group takes a comment (or series of comments), makes assumptions, and demands retribution. Another sees the retribution, makes some assumptions about the parties involved, and now my feed is covered with people calling down hellfire on a particular network. Both sides are making some assumptions about the other, and both sides are fueling a dust-up in the aftermath. And I gotta say, neither side is gonna look good in the aftermath.
Feel in the blank to assume is to make an _ _ _ out of u and me. When I training people whether to sell tickets at a movie theater or to reveal the gospel to their community, I state that rule 1 is “never assume you know anything about the other person.” Don’t assume you know what they want (or don’t want). Don’t assume you understand your motivation or reasoning. Ask questions. Listen. Learn And then and only then lead.
The problem is too many have gotten too big for our britches and have started thinking they can skip to the lead part right away. Too many people have created identities based on their perceived righteousness and rightness and / or victimization and wrongedness.Like good Americans we are looking for the short cut. But there is no short cut to any type of relationship: be the five minute disposable one that exists at a movie box office or the longer one that exists within a church community.
We have got to ask questions. Who. What. When. Where. Why. How. And most important: So What. And we got to listen to the answers. We have to enter into conversation and dialogue.
We have to learn what is really going on and why. And once we know, we have to ask, so what. If it turns out that our assumptions are right, so what do we do now. Throw a fit. Snarl. Call people names. Will that help? Will that break through the problem or will it just add to the carnage? Inquiring minds need to know.
And what if our assumptions are wrong? So what? How does this change us and how will we change the situation? How can we improve ourselves and seek justice? Inquiring minds need to know.
Weak pathetic minds call people names. Weak pathetic minds post rants on social media. To be honest I am not ever sure if my writing this post is an act of prophetic bravery or the act of the aforementioned lameness of thinking. But what I do know is that I am getting tired of assumptions. I am tired of being an ass. I am tired of watching people play the fool. I am ready to see some maturity in myself and in those I love. I am ready for us to grow up. I am ready for the questions. And I hope that one day I can be ready to face the answers. Right or wrong. I am ready to live in peace. I am ready for the day when the fans of this person and the fans of that people can live down together in peace and reconcile our differences.
Even so come quickly Lord Jesus. Forgive us our sins and allow us to forgive those who trespass against us. Make us people who are slow to assume and quick to give grace.