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Is THAT me?

Most of us will be a little guilty of jumping to conclusions on occasion. We don't possess all the facts, but somehow we think we have the whole thing figured out in our minds and we are ready to tell the world how things should be. 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. We open up the door for a lot of problems whenever we 'jump' before we think things through and spend time getting the facts we need in order to for well-designed plans or response.

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

The stories we tell ourselves (and eventually others) are often more important than we think! An inaccurate story will only lead to inaccuracies in our actions or the actions others take in response to what they hear! 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" of data which gets added to the mix of all the other stuff we take into our minds each day. 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 by that? Well, if we look in a mirror at how our body appears to us, we might point out the flaws of this dimple, the 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! The blind have learned to rely upon the sense that aren't impaired!

I wonder what stories our bodies tell. Many bear scars which are hidden from view. Some cleverly cover them with make-up, while larger, or more 'personal' scars are covered with items of clothing. In the privacy of the bathroom mirror, they are all visible to us, aren't they? When you and I behold the scars, there are memories associated with each one - that fall from the bike, the tumble from ladder, the time we ran into the tree. I have some from surgeries, others from tumbles, and others from just having my body in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are not the serious scars, though. In fact, it takes a different set of "eyes" to really see the scars that have deeply impacted my life! Those are the scars so cleverly concealed by the stories we have told ourselves through the years. Some of those stories start out with the seed thought: No one wants a failure - all I do is fail, so what is the use of trying. I always let people down. Other stories may start out a little bit like: 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. Then there is the story that tells us: I've done too much wrong for anyone to ever want me - to ever need me in their life.

Regardless of the story behind the scar, the truth is quite different from the story we often come to "interpret" as 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" in this world - in fact, we are ALL imperfect failures. 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 bike I was forced when learning to ride a bike! Guess what? I ride a bike pretty well now! Despite the bike being 'ill-fitted' to my small body, it was possible to learn how to maneuver it - but not without some ups and downs. 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, riddled with all kinds of stuff I had done "wrong" throughout life (and still do wrong on occasion). He came for you - equally imperfect and carrying your own set of baggage! 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 totally assured 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! Just sayin!

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