Effective communication is highly important, and it is a lesson we will constantly learn when dealing with family, coworkers, brothers and sisters in Christ, our Heavenly Father, and even ourselves. Yes, the way we talk to ourselves is just as important. Communication, whether positive or negative, is heavily influenced by how we view ourselves as well as the environments we are constantly around. For instance, if we live in an environment where the atmosphere is inviting enough for everyone to express and share how they feel, more than likely, we will be open to sharing our thoughts in a healthy way. If we are exposed to environments where people yelled and argued to get their point across, more than likely, arguments are how we attempt to handle conflict. The point I’m trying to make is that the way we communicate with others is a direct correspondence of our environments.
In the last blog I shared how the lack of communication can be linked to three areas: the lack of communication with God (prayer), assumptions and stereotypes. We only covered the first one. I’d like to cover the second one – assumptions.
To assume means, “to think something is true without really knowing if it is true.” This is a strong statement, but to assume something about someone is a cowardice and yet lazy approach to finding out who they really are. It is not fair, nor wise, to go off of someone else’s experience about a person, especially if we have not experienced knowing them for ourselves. We don’t know if what we heard is true or not. There are two sides to every story. When we assume things about a person we treat them a certain way, or we avoid them altogether. Could it be that you’re avoiding a key to your life’s growth by paying more attention to what you heard rather than the Spirit of God?
The Bible speaks about knowing the tree by its fruit (Matthew 12:33b; Luke 6:44a). The word, “fruit” in those verses mean, “work, acts, deeds.” The problem with assumptions is that everyone does not have the right perspective. For example, and unfortunately, this happens all the time, a person gets mad at their pastor for telling them the truth about a certain issue. That person gets mad, leaves the church, and tries to take other weak-minded people with them while attempting to drag the pastor’s reputation down. Some of those people actually believe what is being told to them, though they have not personally experienced anything negative. They could have had an amazing relationship with the pastor, but because one person didn’t have the right perspective, it caused an unnecessary tear in the Body.
This brings me to my next point. Let’s not be weak-minded people. To listen to others without making the final decision for ourselves through the leading of the Holy Spirit is weak-minded. It’s immature. It says that we cannot think for ourselves, that we would rather lean on the information of others about an individual, even if it’s faulty information.
Do you see how damaging assumptions can be? Choose not to give in to the distraction of assuming anything about anyone. Everyone deserves a fair chance to prove their character to you directly. Give them an opportunity as you would also desire that same right. Selah.