I have been processing through so many comments I have heard or read on social media over the last couple months spanning almost every topic you could imagine.
People assuming the thoughts and intentions of myself (or others) and making grandiose statements of what the reasoning is behind it, and substituted truth for what they have decided must be facts.
“You think ____.”
“Obama/Trump/Hillary thinks ______.”
“Refugee’s think _____.”
“Women/Blacks/Whites/Rich/Poor blah blah blah, all think ____.”
You have no idea what anyone is thinking, you are not in their head, you do not have to make the choices they do, and you do not have all of the information. Not to mention, it is poor form and terrible logic to try to create a false process for someone else’s actions.
Stop telling me what I think and what my motivation was for something.
Because at best, your thought process is what you would have done in my shoes, with your background and with the limited information you have. And, at worst, it is the classic case, “when you assume, you make an @$$ out of U and Me…..” mantra.
But, just so we are clear, the opposite side of this coin is that, if you are making assumptions and judging me or others based on what you have decided we/they/someone is thinking, then you are likely also judging yourself based off intentions alone. Oranges and Apples.
What’s the solution to this flawed way of operating?
“Why did you do ___? What was your thought process behind ____?”
Learn. Gain perspective, play devils advocate to your own views, set aside your desire to be right. Just because you disagree with your limited knowledge, does not automatically make them wrong.
You do not have it all figured out, and there are likely hundreds of reasons behind someone’s decision. Making an assumption of what anyone must have been thinking is going to create a wider gap between you and everyone… Not to mention lower the respect others have for you.
It is possible to disagree and be kind about it.
It is possible to hate the decision, but understand the process.
It is possible to learn from those we don’t like.
We do not have to be a people or culture of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
We absolutely can be a humble people, with the intention to learn, gain wisdom, and perspective and still disagree.
Sometimes all that matters is that we understand the why behind something, and it changes our whole view of the situation.
Step aside from your arrogance, take a humble posture of learning, ask questions, listen, seek wisdom and understanding before elevating your own voice and opinion.
Stop seeking for others to see and hear you first, and instead choose words and language that invite others into a safe place of learning and discussion.
Iron sharpens iron… But, only when both are equally willing to be sharpened. It falls apart when only one takes the perspective of learning and humbling themselves enough to be willing to be wrong.
There are differently blessings in life for those who humble themselves, and sometimes blessings for others because of our own humility.
Just to share a small portion of the scriptural basis for my perspective:
“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,” declares the Lord.” – 2 Chronicles 34:27
“He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.” – Psalm 25:9
“When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.” – Proverbs 11:2
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4
“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew 23:12
“He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.” – Luke 1:52
“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:5-7
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-9
There are two things I pray for almost every single day, and have for as long as I can remember:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5
“So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours? It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.” – 1 King 3:9-10
So, stop assuming the thoughts and intentions of others. Ask them, learn from them, be respectful, and learn to use your words better.
What is it you ask God to bless you with every day?
What could you do to make your communication better?