Assumptions, also called false expectations, may be worse than lies. At least with lies you can someday recognize them and fight them head on but assumptions and stereotypes can go undetected for a long time, even when they are challenged.
I’ve spent most of my lifetime dodging assumptions. When I moved into Evergreen Center one woman introduced herself as I sat at the public computer, and after I identified myself as a retired missionary she said without hesitation, “I hate missionaries.”
What upset me was that she assumed that a missionary was a cartoon character, a stereotype. I doubt she had ever met or talked to a missionary. Maybe she thought I worked with headhunters in Borneo? I never learned. She finally left to join s group of over 55 hippies in a soho area of Big D (Dallas.) I did not miss her. I don’t think anyone did. When you approach people with the word hate, and she was blunt with most others, you lose a lot of ground. It was a wall that kept her protected from the truth about others, and more importantly the truth about herself. The wall kept the world out and only let in the world she wanted, the one that accepted her without question, that is without her ever questioning herself. She was the exact opposite of the mandate; a life not examined is not worth living,
How do you reach a person like this? You can’t. Even God says he “knows the proud afar off.” Psalm 138:6 We can only pray that some sort of life event will draw or even force her to look at her life realistically.
I‘d been told that false expectations of both bride and groom form the long, bad road downhill to divorce. She assumes he will be home in time for dinner, that he won’t dump his clothes in the middle of the floor, and that he likes animals. He assumes he’ll get sex whenever and wherever he wants it regardless of her. He may assume she should get a job, or NOT have her relatives around, and the list goes on. There will probably be a discussion about whether the toilet paper rolls from the top or the bottom. My architect husband said “roll from the top” as a principle of engineering.
If for no other reason, this is an argument for pre-marital counseling with some teeth in it. If you learn the cultural expectation-divide is distant you should back out of the marriage. Many people simply cannot make that many adjustments if the list is long. God’s love conquers all but human love is thinner and can fall apart if our thinking is wrong.
But this blog about God and our relationship to Him. And from God’s standpoint we do not back out of a relationship when we find out God isn’t what we thought, we change our minds instead. And that, people, is the exact meanings of the word repent – to change your mind. Meta (to change) noia (mind).
Throughout the Bible we are never asked our feelings, only what is going on in our brains because the thought is father of the deed. Feelings can also lead to deeds, but every deed needs a thought first. And the surprise of the Christian life is that we spend the rest of it “repenting” that is changing our minds. If you are not changing you are not becoming more and more like Him. The potential of the image of God was planted in us at our birth and revitalized at our salvation, but it cannot come to maturity until we accept the daily prospect of growth.
This is the meaning of “perfect.” Perfect to God is not a state of flawlessness; in fact our flaws make us interesting, and propel us to places where we can be effective. Perfect, in the Greek, means mature. Mature means usable. Consider the baby apple, about 2 inches in circumference. Please do not eat it now; you’ll get a stomach ache. Wait until it is 2” in diameter and then it is ready to eat, that is mature, or perfect in Bible parlance.
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
You have a way to go. The following list of notions that people have about God that are wrong.
- God loves everyone so much that He saves everybody.
No, Jesus saved everyone in theory but in actual practice, the individual person must come to God and meet several conditions, the first being forgiveness and recognition that one is a sinner.
- God loves everyone he saves so much they can pretty well live as they please.
God is not the pappa of a bunch of self-indulgent, petulant kids. If you have ever dealt with a brat like that, you know that even God could not tolerate him. But what is even worse is if the selfish folks are adults. No, there are demands on maturity and the development of faith.
- God expect every one to be baptized in water.
Yes you should do that but salvation does not depend on that. Or another action, like tithing, praying, going to church, or Bible reading. Every one of the disciplines helps immeasurably but no action on your part leads to eternal life. It is all about belief which translate into a changed life.
- There is a notion that God is an angry schoolmarm with a ruler ready to tan your hide over the slightest infraction.
Poor God – again getting a bad rap – He has no need to find ugly consequences for sin – there are plenty out there in the world today and anyone over the age of 25 probably can give you a list. God’s biggest problem has always been how to save us, not how to condemn us.
Denominations come up with non-Biblical stuff; one said you have to be married to be saved. One group said no divorced people could join the church. As you might suspect, that denomination is almost completely gone in the past 40 years.
God does have limits but you will find them in the Bible; that is the book you consult to learn if you are being told the truth. Meanwhile, dump the assumptions, expectations, and stereotypes. They are a road block on the way to mental and spiritual health.
This is only a partial list. We’ll cover this topic again.