“I just keep walkin’ until I hits somethin’ – then I turns and walks again”
This following reflection is taken from one of four studies I prepared for use during the morning Bible Study sessions at General Synod 2010. The studies included set questions for discussion, and were led and presented by members of the Youth Stewards Programme who read out the reflection below before delegates gathered in small groups to discuss how the reading and reflection applied to their Synod work that day.
39 He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Assumptions. We all make them.
We make assumptions about others. We make assumptions about ourselves. We assume that we know right from wrong.
There’s a well known saying about assumptions …
What happens if we treat our own assumptions as facts? What happens if we convince others to have faith in our assumptions, and to suspend their own common sense?
We become the befuddled explaining to the confused. The ignorant pontificating to the dumbfounded. We become what Jesus described as the blind leading the blind.
And in so doing, we lose touch with reality.
That’s why we can invest so much time looking at the “speck of sawdust” in our brother’s and sister’s eyes, while ignoring “the plank” in our own.
Our assumptions blind us.
That’s why we can produce the extraordinary feat of intelligence required to plant lemon seeds, and expect the tree to produce oranges.
Our assumptions make us fools.
That’s why we can be utterly convinced that a house built without strong foundations can withstand any storm.
Our assumptions defy the laws of physics.
So the next time you hear someone spouting assumptions, be careful. Be very, very careful.
Jesus said “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Whatever it is that our hearts contain is revealed by what we say. Our mouths betray us. Even when we are speaking of others, we are speaking of ourselves.
And after all, it is the heart of a person that is most important to God.
Don’t assume anything less.