Recently I had two separate conversations about the ministries of my Church with people. Both of them described what we were doing as a Church and neither of them was right about what they said. As we continued to talk I realized how misinformed the person actually was about the ministry. Those encounters got me thinking about a couple of problems with information.
1. Lack of Information. Neither of these people had any first-hand information about what they were talking about. They had heard bits and pieces from several people but simply did not have the whole story. I find that all people, including Church people, form opinions about people and ministries without having accurate information.
2.Biased Information. When you get your information about people and things from other people, you need to understand that it is coming through their personal lens. This can work two ways.
-First is the Negative Lens. It is hard to imagine but some people have negative views of people and ministries no matter what actually happens. As my friend used to say, “Some people are not happy unless they are unhappy.”
Honestly, sometimes this is deserved. I have held ministry events that were terrible. Things went wrong in every way and it was not a good experience. That does not mean all of my events are poor or that the people involved are incompetent.
-Second is the Positive Lens. There are some people who see the good in everything. The glass is always half full and they see the best in all events. Sometimes this is a personality thing and sometimes this is the result of their confidence in the leader. If you were a part of a life changing event then the next time it happens you know it will be great.
One of the hard parts of life is forming your own opinions and ideas about people and events. For you to form accurate concepts you need to experience it for yourself. You even need to ask questions about your own personal bias.
So the next time you start to praise a person or event. Ask yourself if you are being biased and have the right information. Then spread the praise.
And the next time you start to bad mouth something or someone, ask yourself if you have first-hand accurate information that is not biased. If you do, then take your right hand and lift it up and put it firmly over your mouth. I was taught, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”