New word for the day: Predeterminationing – the act and propensity to predetermine how events and things in the future will be, or something like that a.k.a. telling a book by its cover. Sounds much more pompous than a multi-word phrase -)
HINT: It’s not a good thing to do.
That’s the essence of this Sermon from Samoa.
I hope it happens to me too, but Debbie and I met a fellow blogger today for the first time, and found him to be nothing like his blogging or reputation led us to believe, and he was a delight to chat to for an hour, or two, or three!
Maybe one day when you meet THIS blogger you might be pleasantly surprised too?
We’d been told that this dude was trouble, and we were warned in advance . . . you know, the sort of “Watch out for him. He’s trouble! Nudge-nudge, wink-wink” advice that can always be trusted (not!)? So we were all prepared and gave him a grilling, you know, like you want to do to someone you don’t trust? And gradually, little by little we came to see a genuine person, a guy that really was alive, well, and doing what he believed was the best thing to do in the circumstances.
Hmmmm, now we had to qualify the advice that we’d received previously and work out from whom it came and why it was given. A picture began to emerge that showed us of our folly. OK sure, things may flip back the other way in due course but we found today a kindred spirit. Someone who was onto it, who cared, and put their money where their mouth was.
The point here is not whether one dude was right, or the other was wrong, the point is that going into a new situation with predetermined mind-set could have caused us to miss out on a real blessing – a great new friendship and who-knows-what exciting things around the corner.
Fortunately we were not overly obnoxious or rude in our approach to begin with, so no harm was done, but it could have been embarrassing if we had gone in all guns blazing, and then had to backtrack!
Picking a low angle of attack to things like personal relationships (rather than a one-size-fits-all approach) is akin to sending in the troops compared to sending in a cruise missile. In some situations if needed, troops can stop and back off to determine whether a target is a friend or foe, walking through difficult situations with sensitivity for the best result. A missile however, once locked into the target just takes everything out, no matter what.
Those who want to knock the church here in Samoa have a pretty fat target. They’re easy pickings with almost all churches displaying their ostentatious wealth, and pride of place in society. But not all Pastors here are the same. Some do live humbly and truly care about and put their people before themselves.
The same with assuming Samoan racism (reverse racism to the Palagi of course). Tarring all Samoans with the same brush can be unfair to those who love to work with us and take us at face value, genuinely happy to receive our help.
The Master took a low-level one-on-one approach when He dealt with people. Sure, sometimes He pinged a bunch of crims from time to time – like when He pinged the temple-based moneychangers who were basically thieves. Sure, the Pharisees copped a lot of “cruise missiles (they all deserved it mind you!) but most of the time with people that He could see were genuine, and real, He spoke into their lives with a probing question or two . . . . “Are you sure you want to get well”, and “What is your issue?” and “Who do you say that I am?”
We do not hear of Jesus having to say, “Oops, I’m so sorry I didn’t realise …” or “Sorry, I actually thought that …”
Nope! The Master was a great one at determining the truth from within a given situation, even when others were too scared to dig. The Master was a master at getting the facts, with little assumption or predetermination. He really know how to draw the subject into the really important life-and-death matters relating to faith, working from the present to the past, and the present to the future, but always working with facts and the truth.
They “nailed” Him for it but I like His style!
I pray that you do too!