We are in a series called Sticks and Stones. It’s a relationship series that teaches how we can be in Emotional Healthy Relationships. That simply means, we first experience God’s grace and love for us and then we can love others well.
7 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. 8 The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love – so you can’t know him if you don’t love. MSG 1 John 4:7-9
Scripture teaches us, there is a clear connection between experiencing God’s love and how we treat others.
We opened the series and said; to love someone means we reveal to others what makes them great or beautiful. Think about that for a second. Spending time with your spouse and helping them see what is great about them. Spending time with your kids or with your parents and helping them see what is great about them. Spending time with people who feel rejected or hurt and helping them see what is beautiful about them. Is that normal? No. We do life with people and think they are annoying and not meeting our expectations. We focus on what they do wrong and how they could improve. And we convince ourselves, we would be better people if they would change.
Instead of us spending time with them and helping them see their own greatness or beauty, we spend less time with them and expect them to change so that they can be better at serving us and meeting our expectations. Take a couple seconds and think about that. When you leave here and enter your relationships, is your focus on how you can help them see how beautiful they are or how they need to change to meet your expectations? Quick note here: if you are an employer or leader: yes, your employees or volunteers need to meet your expectations.
Last week we said you can’t love if your heart is cold. We looked at the Prodigal Son story and talked about the older brother. He had become so proud of himself. He thought he was the good son and yet all along, he had become more selfish and angry. His heart grew so cold, he couldn’t be happy for his younger brother who came back home and was restored to the family. How does that happen? The answer; He wasn’t in a relationship with his father. Please hear me, the longer you are outside of a real relationship with your heavenly Father, the colder your heart becomes. And I need to add, that’s true even if you go to church and do religious activities. If you are not experiencing God’s love, you will not be centered enough to love others well.
This week; you can’t love others if you make assumptions about them. If you are married, nothing gets an argument started faster than making an assumption about your spouse. For example; if Karen and I have people over to the house; I think to myself, “How can I love Karen?” I then assume that she wants me to help her and I do just that; I try to help her. What is remarkable is that every natural instinct I have to serve Karen is actually the very opposite of what she wants me to do. When I was younger and less experienced, I would notice when people were done eating, I immediately jumped into action and took their plates. That’s helpful isn’t? No. I discovered that is that last thing you do. By taking the plates too early I am rushing people and not giving them to time to eat. What went wrong? I made an assumption.
When you were in school, did your friends ever tell you stories about someone you didn’t know? They told you storied about how weird they were. What did you do? You assumed they were weird and stayed away from them. Then maybe years later you met them and discovered they were really pretty cool. What went wrong? You made an assumption.
Today in politics, depending on what cable channel you listen to, the other side is evil – right? We hear one story about one person doing an awful thing. We try to associate that person with the other political party and then that’s our proof! The other political party is evil. We assume everyone from that political party is awful, completely lacking in any facts, just stupid. Why is our country so divided? We make assumptions about each other. Did you know that you can be a Democrat and/or a Republican and go to heaven? Did you know that? Don’t be mad at me, I didn’t write the rules on how to get into heaven – ha.
When you make assumptions about people, you cannot love them well. Why? Because you won’t spend time with them to help them see how great or beautiful they are.
I want to jump into to scripture and read a story for you. It’s about what happened after David killed Goliath. Remember, David is still a teenager. As I read this, try to pick up on what King Saul assumed about David and how he treated David.
6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. 7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David…
12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul. 13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14 In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my father’s clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” NIV 1 Samuel 18:6-9, 12-19
David does the remarkable; he kills Goliath. Saul hears the people singing and celebrating. What does King Saul think? He assumed all the wrong things. Saul assumed that David wanted to take over and be king. Saul assumed that he should be afraid of David. How did the assumptions make Saul feel? He becomes so insecure, he feels jealous and fearful. What does Saul do? Saul tries to make it so that David is killed.
What was reality? David was young. David was humble. David didn’t even feel worthy enough to be a part of Saul’s family. He had no desire or ability to take over as king.
I want you to see this. Saul’s assumptions of David took Saul’s mind out of reality and into a fake world of make believe. And notice the obvious; Saul couldn’t love David. His assumptions stopped him from spending time with David helping David see what was great about him. Instead, Saul wanted to kill David.
When you make assumptions about people, you leave reality and enter into your own fake world of make believe. Almost like creating your own world of lollipops, unicorns and fairies. I want to talk to you about the fake world and how much damage it does.
Real quickly let me ask you; do you make assumption about people without confirming that truth? Is that normal for you? Chances are, maybe, that you are living in your own make believe world of lollipops, unicorns and fairies. And, you struggle being in emotionally healthy relationships.
Your assumptions will lead you into a fake world and God isn’t there because He is the God of reality.
Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” TLB John 8:12
God is the God of reality. When you leave reality to create and live in a fantasy world, God is not there. You will feel like you are stumbling in the dark. Have you discovered this? When you make an assumption about others, you start second guessing everything. You think, “I wonder what they meant by that?” “Why didn’t they like my Facebook post?” “Why didn’t they get back to me right away?” “Why didn’t they show up?” The mental questions explode in our minds.
Probably the biggest assumption people have of me is; they posted something on Facebook and they assume I know all about it. Truth is, I have no idea what is going on because I hate Facebook and refuse to spend time scrolling through endless nonsense. Not to mention, having kids in school and driving them to endless activities.
Please hear me, God is a God of reality. When you leave reality, you will feel like you are stumbling in the dark.
Your assumptions will lead you into a fake world and you won’t see things correctly.
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. MSG 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
In this world, Paul said, we won’t see things clearly until we are with Christ someday. Think about a relationship that has wounded you. You walk away with questions don’t you? How did that happen? Why did they say that or think that? The longer that goes, the worse it becomes. If we meet and talk, it might be messy but at least we can confirm the truth. If we make assumptions about people, it makes the relationship muddier even more confusing than before. We won’t see God clearly. We won’t see ourselves clearly. We won’t see others clearly. We will be confused and we won’t be able to make good decisions.
Paul ended that chapter by saying, until we have clarity, have trust and hope in God and love others. In other words, don’t make it worse. Settle down, don’t make assumptions and learn to love.
Your assumptions will lead you into a fake world and your emotions will be all over the place. We saw that in King Saul. His assumptions lead to insecurities and he lived with fear and jealousy. In your fantasy land, your emotions will torment you. If you confirm the truth, then you can deal with the truth. If you don’t, you will waste time and energy around something that might not even be true.
Think about this. How much time have you wasted thinking, “I am alone.” Or, “I should just give up, this will never work out.” Or, “They don’t talk to me because of something I did or said.” How much energy have you wasted trying to make people like you more? Or in trying to appear as if you are success so that others will think you are amazing or hire you?
Your assumptions will lead you into a fake world and you can invite others to join you. It’s called gossip.
Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip. MSG Proverbs 17:4
So not only do you live in the land of lollipops, unicorns and fairies, you want others to join you. All you need to do is talk to other about other people. You can complain and share all your misinformation about people and if you get others to listen, they can join you in your fantasy land.
In any school, church, family, business or community organization, gossip will spread wildly. People will constantly tell you things that they know nothing about and treat it like truth. If you ask them, “Did you confirm this?” The answer will always be, “No, but I heard from so-in-so…”
Just a quick note, if someone is around you and they are negative, divisive, constantly complain or they are sharing information about someone else, stay away. It’s like bait in a trap. Understand, they are trying to invite you into their fantasy world.
To love well means, I spend time with people to reveal to them how great or beautiful they are.
When we make assumptions, we leave reality for a fantasy world of lollipops, unicorns and fairies. In our fantasy world, we are unable to love.
Do you make assumptions about people? Do you make assumptions about those in your family or church? Do you make assumptions about your boss and where you work? Do you make assumptions about your spouse?
If you want to stay in reality, stay connected to the God of reality.
Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me – The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. MSG Isaiah 30:15
Then you will know who God is. You will know who you are. You won’t under react or over react with your emotions. Confirm the truth, don’t make assumptions. Place your trust in God, in reality.