So, I’m playing basketball and I go up for a layup and out of nowhere I get fouled unnecessarily and it starts. I begin to stew. Everything from this point on changes.
What’s this person’s deal?
Did this person do it on purpose?
He must have done it on purpose.
I bet he’s going to do it again.
This guy must not like me.
From this point on I begin to see things differently. After the game is over the guy sits next to some of his friends and starts laughing. I instantly start thinking he’s laughing at me and telling them that he fouled me on purpose or he’s planning to do it again.
The guy gets up and walks back on the court and makes eye contact and nods. I lose it because he’s trying to intimidate me. He must be letting me know that I’m going down.
A guy sees that I am going to do a layup and attempts to stop me and, in the process, he accidentally fouls me. He plays the rest of the game completely unaware that I am angry. After the game, he goes and sits by his friends where they start telling jokes and messing with each other. He gets back up and walks back to the court and nods to say what’s up to me.
Leave stewing to the pots
Okay, that’s corny. I’m too young for corny dad jokes, but I had to. I feel like we have all been here in some way, shape, form, or fashion. Maybe someone cuts you off while driving (I’ve talked about road rage before here), or someone says something catty to you, or someone steals the parking spot that you were waiting for.
There’s a term for all of this called the Ladder of Inference (You can read about it here). Here is how it works. It starts with a reality that is skewed by your own selected reality. From here it goes to how you interpret this reality and then to the assumptions you make about it. This leads to your conclusion about the reality which leads to your beliefs. Finally, your beliefs lead to your actions.
Long story short, you make assumptions about a situation and right or wrong it leads to some form of action.
There is a perfect example of this in the Bible. In the book of Job, Job’s friend saw the reality that Job was suffering and incorrectly assumed that it was a result of Job’s sin or disobedience to God.
Proverbs 25:8 (NASB) says, “Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end when your neighbor humiliates you?”
It’s easy to get caught up in anger when we are assuming the worst in people. But, what happens when we assume the best in people? Well, I, for one, can tell you that it is definitely less exhausting.
Proverbs18:2 says,”A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.”
So, here is your challenge for the week:
1) Pray and practice to see the best in people
Delight in wisdom and not your own mental tomfoolery. Assume the best in people and make truth your selected reality.
2) Pray for patience and understanding.
James 1:19 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Take time to try and understand the person and situation you are in.
P.S. If you pray for patience be ready to be put into situations where your patience will be tested. #goodluck