Saturday, December 12, 2015

False Assumptions

So there's this story in the Bible about Paul, who was a great missionary.  One day, while meeting some new people on an island, a snake bit him on the hand.  "He's a murderer," the islanders said.  They just assumed Paul did something wrong and that God was punishing him.  Then, when he shook the snake off his hand and suffered no harm whatsoever, they same people concluded, "He's a god."  Of course, they were wrong in both cases.  Paul was not a murderer.  And he was not a god.  He was neither.  They just made false assumptions about him because of what they saw on the surface.  (You can read that scripture by clicking HERE.)

False assumptions.  Wrongly forming opinions of people when we don't know the whole story.  It happens, but it shouldn't.  We see it in the Bible, and we see it in modern culture.

Before we size up people, let's keep this in mind:  There's always more to someone than what meets the eye.  There's always a background story filled with circumstances and details that we know nothing about.  And there's always things swirling around in their minds and hearts that are not seen or heard by us.  So it's best to be slow in forming opinions of others; otherwise, we make false assumptions, which is terribly unfair.

Don't assume someone is a terrible parent just because their child rebels.

Don't assume someone lacks faith just because they cry at a loved one's funeral.

Don't assume someone isn't paying attention to the sermon just because their Bible isn't open.

Don't assume someone is a bloodthirsty terrorist just because they want to move to America from another country.

Don't assume someone is a thug just because he's black, or a bigot just because he's white.

Don't assume someone is going to fail in the future just because they failed in the past.

Don't assume someone is wanting to buy drugs or liquor just because they are homeless and asking for a couple of dollars.

Don't assume someone is lazy just because they're poor, or arrogant just because they're wealthy.

Only God can see inside the heart of a person.  Only God can accurately judge someone.  He alone knows the whole story and the complete truth about about you, me, and everyone else on this planet.

It's too bad those folks made false assumptions about Paul.  He wasn't a murderer or a god.  But he was a special guy that loved God and loved people.  And it's too bad when we make false assumptions about people we meet.  It causes us to miss out on who they really are.

Let's take our time and get to know people.  Let's hear their stories and allow them to share with us who they really are.  That seems to be the right and fair way to treat folks.  And that is definitely how we would want others to treat us.

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