Friday, February 17, 2006

The Power of Preconceptions

I’m at the gym yesterday, overhearing a couple people talking about Dick Cheney’s announcement. It was the usual…

‘How could he wait so long?’

‘It was all spin, I mean, did you notice the way he kept saying, ‘my friend’?’

I have to tell you I never thought any of that stuff.

I actually thought if I had just shot my friend I would be kind of bummed about it. I don’t think I would really want to go right out and talk to a group of people that I know are going to have a field day with it.

But my point here doesn’t have to do with Dick Cheney.

It has to do with preconceptions. A preconception is a powerful thing. Two people can hear the exact same message and come away with two absolutely opposite ideas of what was being said.

This makes it hard to communicate. Sometimes, honestly, it makes it feel almost impossible.

You've probably been in a situation where no matter what you said and how you said it, the other person wasn't going to hear it.


I personally don’t think the answer is to have no preconceptions. Instead, I think the answer is to make sure that we have biblical preconceptions.

Some of us are a bit too naïve. (I tend to be like that.)

We need to understand that the other person we are talking to is a sinner and that their sin has affected them deeply…probably more deeply than they even know themselves. We also need to remember that we are sinners and that our sin has affected us deeply…probably more deeply than we even know ourselves.

One way it has affected us is in the area of preconceptions. Some of us are way too cynical. It’s almost like we want people to be wrong. We go into conversations already convinced of the worst possible outcome. We look at the other person and treat them as if all they were was sin. We need to remember there is such a thing as grace. God really does transform people all the way down to their hearts.

Either way, we always need to make sure all our preconceptions fit the rule of love. I’ve met too many people who interpret everything people say in the worst way possible – and part of the reason they do that is because they haven’t allowed their preconceptions to be dominated by love.


“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

1 comment:

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