Replace Assumptions with Questions

healingthehurtWe want people to know us so well that they read our minds. We don’t want to have to share what we need most or what we prefer, because we want those close enough to us to already know. We play many games, such as “I shouldn’t have to tell you. You should already know.” No matter how great we think we are at anticipating others’ needs, we are not capable of reading minds. We might get it right every now and then, but we won’t get it right all the time. We make assumptions. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes we look like we’re genius, and sometimes we look like we’re clueless.

We can simply stop the game and communicate with more clarity, so we’re more consistent. Instead of responding out of assumptions, we can simply ask someone to clarify a detail or situation. We can gather information and weed out misinformation. And here’s an important detail when it comes to our church family: we need to ask the right person to clarify a detail or situation. We need to choose well, going to the source of the information. We can go to someone who might have some of the information, but the more people it goes through, the more distorted the information gets. If you go to someone who has the information third- or fourth-handed, it’s like playing a game of Telephone. What is told to you and what you tell others is not going to match the original message.

We must be careful in how we pass along information. If we’re not sure, we need to not speculate. If it’s something we need to know, we can search for the source of the information. If we hear discrepancies between what we know from the source and what others are sharing, we need to clarify. We need to replace assumptions with questions, always inviting a search for the truth. We need to be open to challenges of the assumptions we make. We need to ask, “Is it true?” of everything in our lives. Our search for truth isn’t driven by distrust. It’s not a response away from something. It’s a drive toward something. God is truth, and he wants us to seek and know him. God isn’t just in the big things of life. He’s in every small detail. He wants us to know the truth of his creation and his eternal plan for our lives, and he also wants us to seek and know the truth of a chat we have with a friend, information taught in a small group, or message preached in a worship service. God wants to purify everything, revealing his truth, and he invites you to bring everything to him.

God invites you to ask him. Be inquisitive. Let your inquisitive relationship with him drive your inquisitive approach to living in a biblical community. When your inquisitiveness is driven by your own agenda, ambition, or opinion, you might rationalize you’re getting closer to God simply because you’re in a biblically-based community, but being inquisitive in church doesn’t mean your inquisitiveness is biblical. It’s only biblical inquisitiveness when God is in the center of it, orienting the direction, weeding through the falsehoods, and revealing the pure truths of every situation and relationship.

God’s family is certainly not exempt from hurt, including the hurts that come from within. People in churches are just as vulnerable to unjustly criticize, gossip, neglect, and offend one another as anyone else. It’s true that God sets us apart to reflect his image to the world, but to believe Christ-followers are perfect representations of Jesus will, to say the least, lead to disappointment. What (should) set Christ-followers apart from the world is how they deal with one another to heal the hurt. Will they do the hard work it takes to unite or will they further divide into quarreling, backbiting, judgmental factions? Which will you choose? Welcome to Healing the Hurt, a 10-post series to help hurting communities cope in biblical ways.