I recently came across this image on t’internet which has significantly changed the way I look at things:
Isn’t it interesting how many of us assumed that the picture on the left was a dress, when all along it was a silhouette of a female superhero?! (Yes, I know, but bear with me). We can only really make judgments and decisions based on our understanding, perception and experience. The fact that this symbol adorns doors to ladies’ toilets would lead us to make the assumption that it’s a dress, especially when you add in the male symbol that neither has a dress nor a cape (depending on what you think of the picture above). It’s a fair assumption.
But that’s the point. Sometimes we make assumptions and turn them into hard facts. We assume that the tattoo’d skinhead is scary, whereas she (see, you assumed it was a man) is actually really kind and thoughtful. We assume that Jesus’ stories are about contemporary European culture whereas actually they are set in ancient near-Eastern culture (so, for example, in the parable of the talents we miss the fact that the Master who was angry at the servant who hid the money told him that at least he could have put the money in the bank and earned interest – when it was against Jewish law to charge interest, we expect it (0.1% anyone?)). We assume that being a Christian is about following a set of religious rules (summarised as ‘don’t enjoy yourself’!) whereas Jesus told us it was ‘life in all its fullness’ and came to set us free from religiosity.
Assuming is not wrong. But make sure you fill in the gaps in your assumption before you turn them into facts!
I was reminded of this story (which is in the ‘fun and funny stuff’ section of the blog):
A well-respected Baptist preacher was visiting churches in Africa. He was invited to preach on many occasions, and in order to be courteous his custom was to ask how one might greet people in the local dialect. In one church he asked his interpreter how to say, “Good evening,” and his interpreter told him what to say.
As our hero walked into the main church building he observed some notices onto doors which were obviously the toilets. He noted down what it said on the doors because he thought he would give even more polite greeting.
As he stood up to speak he said what he thought was, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”
There was a stunned silence, followed by giggles and then laughter. The preacher turned to his interpreter and asked what he had said. With a broad grin the interpreter said, “Good evening water closets and urinals!”
Be blessed, be a blessing