Sunday, May 15, 2011
First time I read this book in Camp Cameron. It really attract me because it is so true to us-students and also many others. Have fun reading =D
My friends tell me that I have more than one bad habit! One of my worst is jumping to conclusions about people's characters before I have taken the trouble to find out about them. To make matters worse, I attribute bad motives to those whom I know well because I have something of a persecution complex.
Most of us indulge in stereotyping: "I hate Americans", "I don't like women"; "All men are immature". Placing people in pigeon holes is very easy to do. It may be the way she speaks on the telephone (sounds a bossy type), the clothes he wears(looks real smoothy), the car she drives(if it's a banger she has no self respect; if it's expensive, she's extravagant) etc etc.
I remember reading a letter from someone who is now one of my closes colleagues. He was considering joining Moorlands and had asked several questions. I wrote back with the answers. In his reply, he queried one or two aspects of the curriculum. They were harmless, genuine questions, but I immediately reacted, and saw him as a critical person, taking an instant dislike to him. How wrong I was.
May I confess something else? For years there has been one particular nationality which I can't stand(I'd rather not say which one!). Recently I met several people from that country and I was quite surprised by how pleasant they were!
We sometimes dislike or like those who remind us of someone else, according to whether we got on well with them. I react to people's first names. I like everyone called Elizabeth because all the Elizabeths I have known have been lovely.
People also make assumptions about how others are going to react to them.
Some students go through the whole of their 3/4 years without ever having set foot in my study. They assume I'm too busy or too important to spend time with them.
I'm rather a touchy person. Blame my past if you like. I get offended easily. I take things personally. If a close friend forgets to do something he promised, I accuse him of doing it deliberately to spite me. I forget the hundred other things he has remembered.
We tend to do the same denominationally. Those on the "reformed" side sometimes assume that all "charismatics" are incessantly babbling in tongues, shouting "hallelujah", and indulging in every kind of emotionalism. Similarly, charismatic Christians often accuse their reformed brethren of being kill-joys, rejoicing in stodgy church services and splitting hairs over every doctrine. It is true that some charismatics are wild chandelier swingers and some reformed Christians do wallow in their misery, but to assume that they are all like that is foolish.
What do Anglicans think about the Brethren? Comments like, "Oh I thought you people always..." are often accompanied by half stifled sniggers. I know some Free Church people who have never met a real live Anglican, yet they apparently know what makes them tick.
How do you view MISSIONARIES, PASTORS AND EVANGELISTS? A super (or-sub-) human breed who live in TOTAL VICTORY without failures and weaknesses? We naively imagine that their food, petrol and electricity arrive down a magic chute direct from heaven without being paid for. So we don't encourage them to talk about money. As for personal problems, we assume they don't have any.
The trouble with having the wrong conception of people is that we behave towards them according to the way we view them. Often this does not conform to reality, so we hurt each other because we don't know the facts, We react negatively and rob ourselves of real fellowship and ministry into one another's lives by creating distance and sometimes hostility. Our responses are "gut reactions" rather than mature actions based on facts.
INSTEAD OF BEING ENRICHING, RELATIONSHIPS CAN BE A HINDRANCE.
We misunderstand those we don't know because we fail to take into account the possibility that we may be PREJUDICED. And we accuse those we do know by assuming we have perfect knowledge of their INNER MOTIVATION.
WHAT WE DO TO EACH OTHER WE ALSO DO TO GOD.
To be continued...
Taken from the book: FREE TO BE ME