More Than We Realize
A black man living in a upper middle class neighborhood pulls out a knife and threatens to kill his family. The cops are called, the man charges the police, and they are forced to shoot him twice, putting him in the hospital.
What are you thinking? What images come to mind? What parts of the story have you already filled in with your imagination? What feelings do you have for this man?
I read the news story, and I filled in some of the gaps with my imagination.
Then I found out that I know the man's father when the father reached out to me for prayer. He also filled me in on the gaps. There's so much more to the story.
I was wrong. My imagination was wrong. Not just wrong factually, but wrong ethically.
It's not that I tried to make something up. I didn't set out to invent parts of the story to fit some sort of narrative. I wasn't trying to force the story into a paradigm. My imagination just kicked in, and 10 seconds later I was reading the next news story.
We assume. We even judge. More than we realize. And usually based on only a selective part of the story.
All the more reason to listen first, and to refuse to draw conclusions when we know we don't have all the relevant facts.
Our responses tell the world what to think about Jesus. Are we giving them all the relevant facts, or do we let them fill in the gaps with their own imaginations?