I have noticed a distressing tendency lately that I feel led to expound on. It has happened on several occasions when I have been visiting in the chat rooms with other Christians. I am talking about the tendency we faulty humans have to jump to conclusions on very little evidence or on one side of a story.
An incident occurred just today that brought this to mind. I was visiting in the chat room with a devout young brother and another gentleman came in. He was telling us how he wanted to add wives to his family and his wife of twenty-five years was adamantly opposed. He went on to tell us that she was a controlling individual and would not accept the scriptural truth of the matter. He further went on to state that he had been in contact with a lady who wanted to be his wife and was willing to recruit others for him, unbeknownst to his current wife. The conversation went on in that vein for a while and then he left.
I do not go into detail about his story because that is not what this little missive concerns. What it concerns is the reaction of the other gentleman in the room and myself and I hope will illustrate a common human failing amongst even devout Christian people. I am talking about the tendency to side with one faction or the other in a dispute without enough evidence to make a proper discernment. Remember we are two devout Christians who love our Lord more than ourselves so this, I hope, will illustrate that we must always be on guard against hasty assumptions.
If I may illustrate. As the story unfolded the young man in the room immediately took the tack that the wife was being rebellious and disobedient and willfully was rejecting the scriptural truth of polygyny. He heard the man saying that he had tried to counsel her and bring her to the truth of it but she was willfully rejecting it. His counsel was that as he was the scriptural head of the family, it was his decision to make.
Now please do not misunderstand me, I do not decry the validity of that stance scripturally. However let us take this scenario a bit further.
What I saw from the same scenario was a man who had been married for twenty-five years who came upon the principle of polygyny and decided that was what he wanted. Not what Elohim (God) led him to, but what he wanted. He claimed to want it so badly he was considering a secret liaison with this woman he was interested in marrying. Although he claimed rebellion on his wifeís part, and that element may well have been present, he presented as a selfish, bullying man who would have engendered rebellion. He wanted no part of any counsel to patience, to lovingly help her to accept this principle, to remember what he was enjoined by scripture to do, that is love his wife, as Christ loved the messianic community (church). I saw a self-seeking bully who was determined to have his own way whatever the cost.
But whose perception was right? I suggest that neither one was. I suggest that we both jumped to conclusions based on limited information and our own individual perspectives. It is human nature that in a conflict between the genders, a man will tend to side with a man, and a woman will tend to side with a woman. It is not right, but it is human nature. I, as a woman, was ready to see a domineering, selfish bully. The young man, as a man was ready to see a rebellious, Lillithian wife. In actual fact the true story was most likely somewhere in between both of those extremes. In all likelihood there was an element of rebellion on the part of the wife in question and in all likelihood he was a bit of a selfish bully. But the point is there was not enough evidence to make either of those determinations.
What does this mean to us as Christians/Messianics? Well, in the course of our interactions with others, there are going to be times when we are going to be expected to respond to reports of controversial situations. We need to be acutely aware of human tendency to project our own perspectives on situations we encounter and understand that may not be accurate in the least. If we are called on to advise or mediate any kind of controversy, it is vital that we have the entire story, not just one side, and even then it is necessary to use great care not to take sides partially because of our own perspectives. How much damage we do when we judge a situation or a personís actions without adequate information. And as Christians/Messianics we are enjoined to love and seek the truth, not validation of our own feelings. It is an important concept for us in this time.
I am reminded of another old country saying that I heard from my dear grandmother. There are three sides to every story. There is your side, my side, and the right side. Let us all strive to be on the right side in every story.
As a postscript, although this scenario was gender-based, that is just coincidence. The same conflict arises in most personal disputes between people, regardless of the particulars. It is not my aim to initiate another conflict between genders, just to point out the harm in making determinations based on personal perspective and inadequate information. I pray this musing leads those who read it to contemplate their own interpretive skills and strive for correct discernment in all situations.