It is tempting to jump to conclusions. It always is. It makes life easier.
There’s a story about how some missionary group sent bibles to Nepal after the earthquake there as part of the humanitarian relief effort. Of course there was some outraged people about that one. After all, what good does a bible do for someone who is trapped under a ton of rubble? But of course, closer examination will tell you that those bibles were in nepal before the earthquake and that the missionaries who were supposed to receive them were in the disaster area offering what comfort and assistance they could to the survivors. Now some of the details might be off, but the story goes deeper than a box of bibles.
There’s the rioting that took place in Baltimore. It’s easy to look at it and call it another race riot. It’s easy, thanks to the exaggerated efforts to the mainstream media, to look at this and call it another Ferguson or another ’68 riot. But of course if you talk to anyone who lived through the ’68 riots, then what happened in Baltimore was nothing. Take a look at the numbers and you’ll see if was actually not like Ferguson at all. Talk to anyone who lives in Baltimore and you’ll know that this was more about police brutality and income inequality than it was about race. Was race a part of it? Yes. Let’s not kid ourselves and say that race doesn’t play a role in modern America (a lie I’d love to believe more than any other), but the story doesn’t end skin deep.
There’s a girl who’s living with her boyfriend. They aren’t married and have not made any indication that they want to get married. The traditional church position is that they are living in sin. It’s easy to make that judgment. Nevermind that the couple actually DOES want to get married, but he has a heart condition that basically sucks up every extra penny he makes and his insurance won’t let him make any changes to it. Nevermind that if they were to be legally married they’d have to file for bankruptcy within a year.
There’s a sixteen year old girl who is pregnant. It’s easy to say that she’s a trouble maker, or a slut. It’s easy to say that she sleeps around and if she wasn’t so stupid or ignorant she would have known better, and would have at least practiced safe sex. Never mind that even the best contraceptives are only 98% effective. Never mind that this was the first time she really stepped “out of bounds.”. Never mind that she scared and frightened and doesn’t know what her life will look like, its just easier for us to jump to conclusions and leave them at that.
Its easy because jumping to conclusions allows us to make up a story that’s convenient for us. We can make a story that makes feel ok about ourselves. It allows us to create a story that excuses our indifference. Even now, dear reader, you are probably saying to yourself “I’d never do that.”
Are you sure? Haven’t you just done exactly that? By saying you’d never do such a thing, haven’t just given yourself all the permission in the world to ignore the times you have? I have. I’m not proud of it, but I have.