Other People Are Not Always What We Think

When you know someone well, you get a picture in your mind about their overall life attitudes and ethics. Sometimes we are surprised when someone we thought we knew does something out of character, but usually when we know someone, we can predict their behavior.

When we don’t really know other people but think we do, we can be completely wrong.

Some people in the US have a picture of what a Christian looks like, thinks like, acts like, and so forth. Then they read something about Europe, for example, and form an opinion about Europeans. I’ve seen the same attitudes directed toward people of other areas in the world, as well.

If you ask around the rural American Midwest, the picture that you form about Europeans would be that they have loose morals, open sex, much drinking, no religion.

While that would not be every person in the Midwest, of course, you’d find enough to paint the picture.

I’m in Europe while writing this after having dinner last night with several Germans and a Dutch guy.

While by and large Europeans do not have the same view of religion as my neighbors, I for one am not ready to pronounce judgement on them.

Regarding personal morality, I have found every person I’ve met over the past 30 years of traveling over here to have the highest. You, my Midwest readers, may have heard about Amsterdam and other European cities where prostitution is somewhat open–that is, not hidden in truck stops and alleys like in America. That does not mean that every European man visits them.

Let’s take the thought of assumption to another level. Think of the rich young man’s encounter with Jesus. The man was obedient to God. He followed the laws. Jesus loved him. Yet, he went away sad when Jesus told him that to inherit eternal life he must give away all his possessions to the poor and follow.

Have you speculated on that man? Come to any conclusions? That is hard to do. We hear rich and paint a picture of a certain sort of man. But maybe that painting is wrong.

I think the reason for the story is not to point to the young man and allow us to speculate about other people. I think we are to take this story to ourselves. What are we willing to give up that gets in the way of our following Jesus?

Our job is not to assume what other people are like. Our job is to get ourselves right. Then we can meet other people with openness and sensitivity.

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One Response to “Other People Are Not Always What We Think”

  1. josephruizjr Says:

    This past Sunday the message was a challenge about addictions he moved beyond the usual by referencing Hebrews 12 what entangles us and of course the log vs the speck safe travels home

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