Saturday, August 30, 2008

Assumptions and Presumptions

I hate it when people make assumptions about what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.

Given the life I live, which isn't quite what most Christian young women my age are doing, I've been given lectures and rebukes and disapproving looks plenty of times from well-meaning friends. It seems like most of the time when someone has actually said something, those were the times when I didn't need a rebuke! Those were the times that I actually felt confident that I was doing what God wanted me to or the times when I was doing exactly what I could and should to the best of my abilities. On the other hand, there have been plenty of times when a loving rebuke would have been quite appropriate and no one said anything!

I'll never forget the time when a friend rebuked me for something it looked like I had been doing. In actuality, what I was accused of had not even crossed my mind. I was shocked and hurt. What?! I was too embarrassed to even try to defend myself and explain what the situation really was. But it taught me a lesson to think not once, not twice, but several times before I decide to correct someone or presume upon their motives.

Well, I thought I had learned that lesson.

I recently found myself greatly humbled when I realized that I had presumed on a friend's very noble motives.

To me, it looked like this friend was motivated by a great deal of pride and selfishness in several major decisions that they had made. This wasn't one of those situations where one should just not form an opinion because one doesn't know the whole story. No, indeed - in this situation things looked very obvious. It appeared that such choices could have no other root than selfishness itself. This person even made several comments about why they were doing such things, and it confirmed what I had suspected.

I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about my friend's motives or worrying about their choices for life, but when someone else commented on what a sad choice this person had made, I agreed and added something about unselfishness being a virtue of which most people have much to learn.

And then I heard something from someone else. This friend was making these choices, not because they wanted to or would have chose such a course for themselves, but out of honor to parents who wanted something different. And they hadn't wanted anyone to criticize or dishonor their parents, so they had done the best they could to take responsibility for what they were doing and move forward, trying to enjoy what they were embarking upon.

I was speechless...

I hope I'll remember for a long, long time that even if it looks like I see the whole picture, I probably don't.

Esteeming others as better than myself means that I will be more likely to dismiss their shortcomings and errors and make excuses for what they do that I would my very own self!

Ummm... I have a long way to go!

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