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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jumping to conclusions - the stories we tell...

I think we might all be a little guilty of jumping to conclusions at times.  We just don't possess all the facts, but somehow we think we have the whole thing figured out in our minds.  We form some type of "story" in our minds we latch onto.  In plain language, anytime we don't have all the information (the facts), we are jumping to conclusions which may not be well-founded.


8 Don't jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw. (Proverbs 25:8 The Message)


The stories we tell ourselves are often more important than we think!  An inaccurate story will only lead to inaccuracies in our actions!  Learning to tell ourselves the correct story is most important.


There are many sources of "input" our brains receive each day.  The very nature of each source of input lends itself to "interpretation" data which gets added to the mix of other stuff we take in.  For example, if we rely only upon what comes in through our sense of sight, forming conclusions based on how things appear in the image we behold, we might miss other evidence which speaks louder!  What do I mean?  Well, if we look in a mirror at how our body appears to us, we might point out the flaws of this dimple, extra inch of tissue here, and that scar over there.  Yet, to a blind person each of these "flaws" or "points of uniqueness" adds to the "image" they form of us all without the advantage of the sense of sight!


I wonder what stories our bodies tell.  Many bear scars which are hidden from view.  Some cleverly cover them with make-up, others with items of clothing.  Yet, in the privacy of the bathroom mirror, they are all visible, aren't they?  When you and I behold the scars, there are memories associated with each one.  The ones over my right knee bespeak the three surgeries I've undergone, the one on my neck the removal of my thyroid, and the one on my chin the stumble in second grade which left its mark for life.  These are not the serious scars, though.  In fact, it takes a different set of "eyes" to really see the scars which have impacted our life!   Those scars so cleverly concealed by the stories we have told ourselves through the years....


Stories like....


No one wants a failure - all I do is fail, so what is the use of trying.  I always let people down.  


They didn't mean to hurt me - they just lost control.  I drove them to the point of their rage.  I need to try harder next time.


I've done too much wrong for anyone to ever want me. 


Regardless of the story behind the scar, the truth is quite different from the story we often come to "interpret" as the reality in our lives.  Take the first story - I know of one really big God who gave his all for more than just one "imperfect failure".  If we never try, we never have the opportunity to succeed.  It often takes a whole lot of failures to succeed.  In fact, the scar on my chin was the result of not knowing how to turn the big two-wheel Schwinn!  Guess what?  I ride a bike pretty well now!


In looking at the second story, the real story centers not on us, but on what is being done TO us.  We are NOT the cause of another's anger - the abuse of the other is NEVER our fault.  In fact, scripture is plain - we each own our own sin!  Control of our emotions is the responsibility of the one expressing the emotion, not the one on the receiving end of them!  Nothing covers over these scars of abuse, right?  Maybe not in the natural sense, but in the spiritual and emotional sense, God's grace, his love, and his compassionate "putting the pieces back together" touch will!


Our last story, although common to many, is really a lie we tell ourselves to cover over our fears of relationship.  We have been rejected - so we reject ourselves, as well.  I am so blessed to know God never came to the cross for perfect people.  He came for me - a wholly imperfect person, riddle with all kinds of stuff I had done "wrong".  He came for you - equally imperfect and carrying your own set of baggage!  His goal is teach us to relate to him first.  In unloading the baggage of our past, he sets us up to reach out in relationship again.  I am not sure how he manages to do all this, but I do stand here today confident of what he has done in my life and assure he can do it in yours, too!


Yep, the conclusions we jump to in the moment of the mirror experience may be telling us the wrong story!  We might want to see ourselves through the mirror of God's Word - it is a much more reliable source of truth!