November 11 is an important date on the Canadian calendar. Every year, the country pauses in silence on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour to honour and remember those who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. The 2021 version of Remembrance Day was not as extravagant as usual due to COVID regulations. I sat with a group of our staff to watch the ceremony’s broadcast from our national capital in Ottawa.
I became pretty upset when the two primary VIPs for the ceremony arrived late. The Prime Minister arrived just before the bells rang out. It was 11 am and time for a moment of silence. The Governor General arrived several minutes later. How could this happen? How can you possibly be late for the one event that occurs at the exact moment each year? I felt frustrated and angry to see this obvious sign of disrespect taking place.
Later in the day, I read various news websites only to learn the ceremony was delayed due to a security concern at the National War Memorial. Ugh. I made a great mistake.
Why do we so quickly jump to conclusions without knowing the whole story?
Imagine how your life would be different if you were to seek understanding instead of looking to make a judgment call. Your interaction with politicians, employers, or the person at church who annoys you would be different if you looked to understand their story. Your marriage would be stronger if you took the time to see things from your spouse’s perspective instead of your point of view.
When we jump to conclusions, we are guilty of breaking part of the Great Commandment Jesus gives to us; we fail to love others. In 1 Corinthians 13:7, the Bible tells us love “believes all things.” If we genuinely love others, then our starting point is to believe the best about others. You may think – “well, this person has done so many things wrong that it’s natural to be skeptical about their motives and actions.” Even this attitude fails to love because love “does not keep a record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Here are some essential steps to take the next time you want to jump to conclusions about someone:
- Identify what exactly is bothering you. Is it worth being upset about this?
- Ask yourself if there is any possibility there is more to the story than what you know.
- Take the time to seek to understand the person and the circumstances they are facing.
- Even if you still disagree, ask yourself what it looks like to love this person anyways. Love is the posture Jesus calls us to take.
On Remembrance Day 2021, God revealed something to me about my own heart. Too quickly, I rush to judge the actions of others when there is likely more to the story than I realize. The mercy of God is so great. God does not write us off when we fail like this. He shows us love and asks us to extend the same kindness to others. May God help all of us have a posture of grace and patience towards each other.