Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What We See Outside Our Window

I woke up this morning and looked outside my window to discover what appeared to be a heavy layer of frost on my car. After seeing reports of snow in the area I soon realized what I thought was frost was actually a very thin layer of snow. I made an assumption without knowing the facts. I did not go out and touch the snow. I had not listened to a weather report. I took in the situation and made a snap decision.

A short time later I noticed someone on a community Facebook page was complaining about the current state of weather. The chief complaint was that schools should be closed because outside her house was snow and ice. This woman's perception of the situation was skewed because there was snow and ice outside her window so she made the assumption that it must be the same way all over town. I do not know whether she had access to a television or if she had gone outside to look around and further assess the situation before making her decision. Maybe she just wanted a reason to keep her child home from school!

These two events got me to thinking about perception and misunderstandings. I was thinking how easy it was to make an assumption based only on what I saw outside my own window. From my perspective there was no problem outside that couldn't be taken care of with an ice scraper or a good dose of sunshine. I went on with my morning without giving it another thought until I was enlightened. Meanwhile, a few people around town were having accidents because of icy roads and schools were closing in a nearby county.

The Facebook woman made the wrong assumption when she saw snow and ice outside her window. Perhaps from her perspective closing schools and businesses was the only way to keep everyone safe. What she did not know was that sunshine was already taking care of some of the roadways and in just another hour there would be no more snow outside her own window. Hmmmm . . . Perspective.

It's so easy to make wrong assumptions about something or someone based on what we see "outside our window." There are times when we will have only the facts in front of us in which to make a decision and we come to a conclusion based on those facts. Sometimes our instincts will be right and sometimes we will be wrong. More than likely we're not seeing everything and taking in the landscape beyond our front door.

I guess it's much worse to make the wrong assumptions when it comes to relationships with our family, our friends, our coworkers. These myopic views outside our windows can put a wedge between two people.

For example: I see a headline on the news about a celebrity and make an immediate assumption based on the snappy headline. The truth is that I don't know enough about the celebrity or his situation to form an opinion. Or, someone reads something I wrote and misunderstands my intention because they can't see the gleam in my eye and the curl of my lip as I type something that I thought might be funny. Instead, that person becomes offended because they assumed I meant harm.

I've just been thinking about these things and how easy it is to be wrong. It's okay to admit that we're wrong sometimes because we ALL do it. We all make mistakes. I make mistakes. We live in a fallen world full of sin and where an Enemy who is always finding ways to help us mess up our relationships with each other. I guess if there is any point to this post today it's to remind me and you that what we see "outside our window" may not be the whole story. Withhold judgment, if possible, until more facts can be obtained. Our heavenly Father extends grace and mercy to us, so maybe it's a good idea to extend grace and mercy to others--along with forgiveness. And above all, pray for wisdom and guard the tongue.