Have you ever been convinced of something, only to find that your perspective was completely wrong? You discovered you weren’t seeing things accurately and totally misread the situation. Because of it, you found yourself eating a big piece of “humble pie.”
This past week, I had an incident like this. I was following behind the rest of the family, as they were driving the motor home with the trailer. I noticed that the left tire of the trailer looked narrower than the one on the right. After we stopped, I told Duane about it, and he checked it out. “There’s nothing wrong with the tire. It looks just fine,” he said. As I was following them the next day, I saw that it still appeared to be more narrow than the other one. I couldn’t imagine why Duane couldn’t see it! It was easy to see! I started driving closer to the shoulder of the road to see it from another angle. I was surprised to see that if I looked at it from directly behind, the tire looked exactly the same size as the other one. The problem was all in my perspective. It was a bit embarrassing to me when I discovered my mistake. =)
Have you ever made the mistake of judging someone’s motives or actions without seeing the full picture? It is easy to form our opinions while we are seeing the events from a wrong angle. As in the incident with the tire, we shouldn’t form our opinions about others without viewing it from their perspective. Like Job’s friends, you may surmise the reason why someone is facing their trials. Job’s friends made a very wrong assumption. (Job 4-8) Are you judging someone as you observe their situation without knowing all the facts or their motive? Maybe someone is having marriage problems. Are you judging them or looking for ways to encourage and strengthen them? When someone from your church experiences financial loss, do you conclude that they are mismanaging their finances? We need to be careful not to make hasty and wrong assumptions about someone. This is an area where God has been challenging me.
There are many hurts within the body of Christ caused by assumptions. We need to start applying the Biblical principle of approaching someone directly about a concern. (Matt. 18) This will prevent us from misinterpreting our fellow believer. I wonder how many relationships have become strained or broken because of the sin of assumption. The frequent scenario in our churches is this: We distantly observe a response or action in the life of our fellow brother or sister, that may be a blind spot in their life or just a false impression that we have. Then we share our “concern” with someone else, asking them to make it a matter of prayer. They, in return, form a negative opinion about the other person. It soon snowballs into nothing more than detestable and ungodly gossip. The problem started with us assuming rather than choosing to think the best about them. If it’s significant enough to share with someone else, it’s vital that you engage in the offender’s life and share your concern with him. Majority of the time, we jump to conclusions because of pride in our lives. When we see the faults in others, it makes our sin and personal struggles not seem quite as bad.
There is no room for gossip and slander within the body of Christ. If someone shares a “concern” with you but hasn’t approached the offender first, you are choosing to be part of the problem if you also form an assumption. Instead, you should encourage them to go and talk with that person. I believe that, many times, when we show love and directly interact with them, we will see that things weren’t quite like they appeared. We also will be able to bless them, rather than forming false, negative opinions, later causing us to eat another piece of “humble pie”.