Never Assume

16 Sep

“Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.”  ~ George Santayana

When studying counseling or psychology, there were many things that we were taught.  We had to learn how to pay attention to external cues in the person we were meeting.  Did they appear tense?  Did they avert their eyes?  Were they loud and brash?  Were they extremely reserved?

However, once we learned how to look for the visual cues, we were told that there was even more to observe.  We could not possibly decide what was going on in a person’s life by the mere externals.  They may appear quite on the outside but might be ready to burst on the inside.  Someone might appear confident and unafraid externally but within were ready to crumble from insecurities.  We needed to speak with the person and delve deeper with questions designed to get answers.

We then learned that we could never discern a person’s state by one or the other.  We needed to have as much information as possible.  That meant observation.  It also meant discussion.  And it meant, additionally, information-gathering from family or friends if necessary.  Only then could we hope to have as complete a picture of the person as possible.

Too often, we make quick, rash judgments about other people.  We look at a couple of externals and think we have the entire picture.  We could not be more wrong.  The problem with that is we often act upon our very rash impressions and do not give a person the benefit of knowing them better.  We write people off too easily.

The Gospels are filled with examples of that.  Jesus had many enemies and many detractors.  Most of them judged Jesus by externals and never took the opportunity to know Him better.  If they had, they never would have turned against Him.

If we have enough courage to look within, we might find that we are like those people.  We do not give others the opportunity to know them better.  We reject them based upon external observations. When we do, we reject the Lord because God dwells in all of His people.

FAITH ACTION:  Try not to judge anyone today by their external appearances.  Instead, do all that you can to get to know them.