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Assume the Worst

Mop and bucket: taking care of business since 1837.
This morning there was a knock on the door to our flat and, upon opening it, a woman I've never seen before began berating me for vomiting outside her doorway. Indeed, I looked down (our entryway is, essentially, the same as hers) and there was vomit and bile all through our hallway.

I can say with all honesty it was not my vom. In fact, a friend told us he found a man sleeping in the stairwell -- passed out -- as he left our place late last night and I'm fairly sure that guy was the one who was responsible.

I tried explaining this to the woman but she said, "No, I think it was you or one of your friends who did this to my door."

I reiterated it was not us, that I would be happy to clean it regardless, and that it was very rude for her to make such an accusation.

The whole thing got me thinking: We're really good at assuming the worst in those around us, aren't we? It may be difficult to notice when you are doing it to someone else but you certainly notice when it happens to you.

For instance, LGBT rights are very much in both the national spotlight as well as in that of Mennonite Church USA. And Facebook, being what it is, is ripe with opinions on the issue (usually) expressed in the least constructive ways possible.

Regardless of where you land on the issue, what assumptions are you making about those you disagree with?

From a Christian perspective, I can say I know people on all sides of the issue who care very much about what the Bible says are genuinely seeking to hear God's voice. But rather than love and even pray for those we are at odds with, we quickly cut them down. Those against are all "uneducated, hateful Conservatives" and those for are all "world-pleasing, heretical Liberals."

These assumptions are not constructive and they certainly do not capture the command to love our neighbors.

Instead or writing others off, ask yourself, "Who are the people in my life I naturally assume the worst about?" Get to know those people better. Put a name with the face. Try to understand the circumstances that made them who they are -- maybe you wouldn't be much different if you were in their shoes.

After all, we're all broken children of God in a gritty world trying to figure out what it means to be human. Let's assume at least that much about each other.

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