Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thinking About Assumptions

I just walked over to Sunoco to get some gas for the church lawnmower. It is only about a block to the gas station, so rather than go home and get the car to drive, I just walked across the park, across the four lanes of Jefferson Ave, and a got $4.00 worth of gas.

As I walked, I wondered how many people driving by looked at me and thought, “Stupid dork ran out of gas and now has to walk to get some.”

I am sure that is what I would think.

And they would be thinking wrong. In fact, the gas can still had gas in it … just not enough to fill the lawnmower. And the car had plenty, but walking is good exercise, cheaper than driving, and quicker since the car wasn’t here.

But it makes me wonder how many times we see someone doing something and jump to unfounded conclusions.

We see a man quote another man on his blog, and assume he is giving a blanket endorsement or promoting some belief or practice.

We see a man speak at a certain place and assume that the host is endorsing everything that the speaker affirms, or that the speaker endorses everything that the host affirms.

So they shoot off an email or a blogpost. And they end up distorting and misleading people based on assumptions that aren’t true. In some cases, they are just plain dishonest, saying things that are demonstrably untrue.

Granted, jumping to conclusions is quick and easy, and it looks good on a blog to take such a good stand for separatism and truth.

On the other hand, taking time to actually listen carefully is harder, and won't always satisfy people.

But the truth is this: When you say something that is untrue, it is still untrue, even if you really believe it. You are bearing false witness, even if you think are right. And that is shameful.

Before you jump to conclusions about person, take time to figure out what they believe and teach. Read what they write; listen to what they say; look at the pattern of their life. And be honest about it. Some people in the blogosphere are, quite frankly, dishonest about what other people believe.

The last few days have confirmed that for me again. Some people have no integrity. They are not beyond gossip, false accusations made out of ignorance, personal attacks, and false statements. They are, in the biblical sense, brawlers who stir up trouble for the sake of stirring up trouble, and they do so by making false accusations and misleading statements. They are divisive but not for the truth.

They are beyond listening to people who know what they are talking about because of pride and arrogance.

They think they are right and no amount of actual fact will dissuade them.

It’s sad but true.

It’s kind of like selling used cars. Some people will say anything to push a car out the door. And some people will believe the salesmen because they don’t know any better, and are too lazy to go find out the truth. And then they are stuck with a lemon.

In a day when talk is cheap, make sure you get your money’s worth. If you are going to listen to someone, make sure they know what they are talking about. Don’t assume it.

1 comment:

Kent Brandenburg said...

I was only thinking "dork," not "stupid dork." So stop assuming.