Sometimes, We Are Wrong…

Book Pic

I have a secret to tell you—

Sometimes, you are wrong!

And for that matter, sometimes I’m wrong.

Since I’m the one pointing fingers here, I’ll use myself as an example. A number of years ago, a barn in our neighborhood burned down. Next door to that barn, there lived a family with a bunch of boys in it. And in my experience, those boys had been pranksters of the worst kind because their jokes were usually mean-spirited, and more than once, I’d been the brunt of their cruel humor. And so, as soon as I heard their neighbor’s barn had burned down, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was another of those boys’ tricks gone wrong. And in my heart and mind, I judged them guilty. Thereafter, I avoided them even more than I had previously. And I treated them pretty unkindly. Later that week, I learned that the fire had actually been caused by a wiring malfunction and had nothing to do with those boys, at all. I can’t tell you the heaviness of that guilt.

I’m not just a conclusion-jumper. Sometimes, I really have good intentions, I just don’t give people what they need. Like when I know a friend’s going through a hard time and instead of just listening to them or giving them a hug, I give them well-meaning advice that really just frustrates them, overwhelms them, or causes them to feel small or condemned.

Please tell me that I’m not the only one…

I’ve also been on the other side of it.

When I was twenty-one, I witnessed an instance of abuse in my church. I diligently went to the leadership and told them what was happening. Because the perpetrator I had witnessed was one of the pastor’s favorite people, instead of believing me, they vilified me and gave me the option of either standing before the church and “confessing” publicly that I was a liar or else leaving the church. I left the church, but I stayed in the same town and so often, I would run into people who had attended that church with me. So many times, they would boldly ask me if I had fallen away from God or left my faith – just because I’d left their church. I lost every single friend in that congregation. Today, fourteen years later, I’m not in touch with a single one of them.

Conclusion-jumpers.

I’ve been one. I’ve been wounded by them. But today, I’m determining that I don’t want to be one anymore. I want to be healed, and I want to carry healing to others, as well.

In this week’s chapter of “Fire of Delayed Answers,” Bob Sorge says, “I want to warn you against making a quick judgment about somebody just because great adversity hits his or her life….Sometimes, the greatest adversity comes to those God loves most. One of the tests that many of the greatest saints have shared is to suffer a negative reputation—to have others who love and serve God decide you’re suffering because God’s displeasure is on you….We must be very careful that we not find ourselves coming against someone who is silently favored of the Lord.”

My goal is to keep it simple – to love God and to love everyone I come into contact with. Is that easy? No. But one step I can take is not to jump to conclusions, but rather to love people enough to give them the same benefit of the doubt that I wish they would give me.

This post is part of a weekly discussion that some of my friends and I are having on Bob Sorge’s book, “Fire of Delayed Answers.” You do NOT have to read the book to hang out and chat with us. But if you have written a response, Jason my super-duper co-facilitator, has the widget at his site, Connecting to Impact. 

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. I am the same way too.. and most of the time I think I can back it up with the number of years of experience I think I have had with a particular situation…The intentions are good, but lots of times we don’t have the “whole picture”, I just start out with good intention, but then jump to the wrong conclusions… NOPE your not alone , we are all guilty.. we just gotta work on it.

  2. The situations haven’t been identical, but the story is the same. Well done, kid 😀

  3. We took different approaches, but shared similar thoughts today. Warped minds (err great minds) and all that.

    I remember once being told what assume means: ass|u|me. Conclusion jumping does the same thing.

  4. I used to freak out when people would talk to me about situations or things going wrong because I thought as a pastor/minister, I should have all the answers instantly. There have been times where the Holy Spirit will give me something to say, but many times I just listen and that’s all that’s needed. As I said in my post, sometimes scripture gets quoted to us and even though it’s truth, it cuts like a knife. Oh how we all need discernment! Like you said, we have all been wrong and all jumped to conclusions, but if we are to be the healing balm He’s called us to be, we’re going to have to get in there, listen, and love people as He would. Good stuff, Sarah. Thank you.

  5. You’re not the only one.

    I am guilty too. And I want to be the one who listens and goes and sits for 7 days with my friend, but who also refrains from unnecessary and unhelpful advice–unless the Holy Spirit prompts me. For me, it is hard to pray first and speak second. Just being real here. Being the chatty, helpful fixer that I am, I just want to jump right in there and do my encouragement thing. And that isn’t wrong, but it is when I don’t seek God’s heart for that person first.

    Love you, my sister!! :-)

  6. Your post reminds me of John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    I’m not sure why we have so much trouble loving those inside the Body of Christ, but we do and sadly because we can’t seem to give grace as abundantly as we receive it, the world isn’t seeing much of Christ.

    I’m speaking to myself here! No finger pointing intended.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Barbara, me working on it hasn’t helped much. Even today, I really put my foot in my mouth and offended someone — all with my good intentions. I think my best bet is to let HIM work on it. But I know what you mean and I’m glad I’m not the only one. :-)

  8. Sarah Salter says:

    Rick, it’s nice to be called “kid” when my crows feet are multiplying seemingly hourly. 😉

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I read your post and started to comment, but all I could think was to regurgitate what I said here. So, can I just say, “ditto.”? :-)

  10. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, I know what it feels like to believe I have to have all of the answers. I need to realize more often that sometimes, the best answer is a hug or a smile or a listening ear. The late Tommy Tyson used to say, “I don’t have all of the answers, but I know The One Who Is The Answer.” :-)

  11. Sarah Salter says:

    Joell, I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU! I don’t want anyone to hurt. I want to stop their pain. And so I feel like I have to DO something or SAY something. Sometimes, I need to love others enough to just keep my mouth shut. But I think that what Jason’s saying is exactly right — discernment is SO key!

    Love you, too, Sister!

  12. Sarah Salter says:

    But TC, these conversations are helping to extend that grace and love, and cause it to grow. Let’s keep talking. And loving. :-)

  13. Crow’s feet and grace, hon – crow’s feet and grace. So far as the kid goes? You are so far in my rear view mirror the dust of my passage has not only settled, but been stirred up again by others to whom you are yet a youngster 😀

  14. Sarah Salter says:

    Rick, funny, you are. Old, you ain’t. 😉

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