I meant to post this last month from a friend of ours and church member. Spot on for our membership.
From Abi Werle
Yesterday Simon read me a passage from the book of Ezra. One scripture stuck out to me and I drew a conclusion about what it meant and was excited to share my thoughts. But Ezra is a whole book and I was not overly familiar with it. So since I didn’t know the whole story, I asked Simon to tell me about the book before I shared my thoughts. Turns out once I knew the whole story, I realized that the conclusion I originally came to was incorrect. Not only was I wrong, but the meaning of the passage was almost the opposite of what I had been thinking!
Now, I could easily turn this story into a bible study, but today I really want to turn it into a people study. So stay tuned!
As humans we have a tendency to stubbornly adhere to our first belief about something or someone. We also look for evidence to confirm our beliefs and ignore anything that disproves them. In psychology those tendencies are known as belief perserverence and confirmation bias.
Why am I saying all this? Because it is absolutely vital to recognize when you don’t know the whole story. We often take more pride in our judgements of others than we do in having mercy. If we step back and recognize that we may not know the whole story, we can hopefully realize that we don’t have enough information to make an accurate judgement. We can choose to disregard our negative beliefs and err on the side of grace.
So next time you hear a passage about someone elses life, remember, you do not know the whole story. You may have heard an excerpt, but there may be other perspectives or details you still dont know.
Let’s go a step further with my story. What if I had decided to share my false conclusions with the world? People probably would have believed me because it was exciting stuff. Now we have a bunch of people out there with a belief about the book of Ezra that is completely wrong. They’re out there making disciples and sharing their inaccurate version of the story and the problem just multiplies.
Isn’t that how gossip works?!?!! Gossip is toxic and dangerous for so many reasons, but a big one is that you may not be hearing the whole story and the whole story will probably impact how you see that single passage.
I feel like I need to drive this whole diatribe home in some eloquent and effective way so here goes…don’t make judgements of others and don’t participate in gossip because one passage of the story never gives you the whole story – you just dont know what you dont know.