"The human eye has a blind spot in its field of vision. The human mind has something similar. Sometimes you can't 'see' new information because you are bound by filters and lack the mental framework to make sense of what your eyes take in. People often see what they want to see and ignore information that doesn't fit their preconceptions. We default to the shortcut of seeing things the same way. People seek stability and security so seeing things in a way that confirms their beliefs gives them both."
It just doesn't come natural to actually get out of our own way. When we go on auto-pilot...
- we fill in the blanks
- which cause us to make assumptions
- which leads to bad information
- which leads to bad decisions
- which, ultimately, leads to bad consequences.
Those consequences could be anything from a missed opportunity to a damaged relationship; an ineffective outreach to a dying church; a broken life to a fractured community. We have to be intentional about doing our homework. It requires stepping out of our comfort zone, but in the process, we learn something about ourself and others.
I'm passionate about minimizing this practice of 'filling in the blanks' in my own life and ministry. Really. It keeps me up at night (I've talked about it many times here, here, here for starters). It's amazing to me the simple wisdom, new impact and connection that's available to us when we open our mind and let go of preconceived notions. It's our responsibility to acknowledge that 9x out of 10, there's more to the story. And, before we leap to conclusions about a best practice...a person...a decision, we should learn about it.
Somebody recently forwarded me a link to this blog pedestal. A lot of untested assumptions are made in that post about good churches and good pastors.
"Help yourself see more by looking past your beliefs." Marcia L. Conner