I made a terrible mistake. You know that article I wrote that went viral? It got 2000 comments. I read them. Not all of them, but enough to know it was a huge mistake. I’ll say this: the overwhelming majority of the comments were positive, uplifting and encouraging. But then there were the others. The other comments that made huge sweeping generalizations and assumptions about…me.
Take this [long] comment, for example:
This person was attempting to be kind. She wasn’t spouting mean or profane things, but she sure did make a lot of assumptions about me based on one thing I wrote. Just for fun, let’s list the assumptions:
1. I’m unhappy.
2. I’m average, normal, intelligent and pretty.
3. I don’t have guy friends who are looking for a lady.
4. I am single.
5. I’m not meeting new guys.
6. I’m too picky.
7. I pursue men.
8. I don’t have older, wiser women in my life.
9. I’m not doing anything to find “Mr. Right”
10. I’m single (again).
11. I may choose to answer my own questions, or I may choose not to.
12. I would want to move to New York.
13. I’m single (again?!).
14. I’m unhappy.
15. I feel trapped.
16. And single (sigh).
Whoa. So many things she’s assumed about me based on one article.
I’ll admit that at first, a comment like this stings. She’s reflected a lot of things onto me that I never said or intended to say. Part of me really badly wants to respond to her and point out all of the places where she is wrong, but then I’d be an indignant fool, no wiser than the rest of my “haters”. I’d be making assumptions as well, and I know how that stings.
Instead, this is what I want the commenter to know: she’s missing out. Because she made so many assumptions about me, she’s missed out. I don’t feel as though she is judging me for my choices, but I do feel like she’s jumped to a bunch of conclusions. She made assumptions about my life instead of taking the time to get to know me or ask me what’s up.
I’m no better, though. I do the same thing on a regular basis. I see or meet someone and automatically assume that because of the way they look or the way they carry themselves, I can make a guess about their lives, thoughts and emotions. And let me tell you, the majority of the time, I’m dead wrong. I’ve done myself and the other person a disservice. I’ve disregarded the heart of another, just so I can file their “type” away in a neat folder in my head. It’s so sad.
We’re missing out when we assume what’s in the heart of another. We are all brilliant and complicated humans, each created uniquely and for a purpose. When I assume, I am flippant about someone precious to God. I gloss over who they are. He knows this woman’s heart, and I don’t. He knows her pain, her struggle, her strength and her beauty. He knows it all, and he’s thrilled with her. He knows my heart, too. He knows my desires and my needs, my pain and my weakness. He also knows my beauty and strength. He knows me, and loves me dearly, but she does not.
We’re both missing out. We’re ripping each other off when we jump headfirst into assumptions. We’re missing the opportunity to learn more about our Savior by getting to know his creation. When I assume, I fail to see Jesus. When I brush by another, I lose. When I don’t take time to listen, I’ve missed out on something God is trying to teach me.
Don’t assume. You’re missing out.