I am often surprised at how often people, including myself, believe we can read the minds of other people. At one point in my first year as a pastor, a very disgruntled older gentleman was talking to me about everything he did not like. At the peak of our conversation, he brought up the Bible study hour. He began saying, “I don’t like the Bible study, because…”
I was growing weary at this point, and I interrupted saying, “I know why!” He paused for a moment, leaned back in the chair, and grew a telling smile. He said, “Why don’t you tell me what you know?”
I was wrong.
That smile sticks in my mind’s eye. I can see it, feel it even. It often serves as a good reminder for me: no matter how much I think I might know, I cannot read anyone’s mind. I depend on people to tell me what they think, believe, and feel. Unfortunately, I cut this man off as he was sharing his concerns with me.
We all do that though, right? We think everyone knows what we’re thinking when we do something. This happens especially with pastors and other leaders. We have an idea and follow it only to find that nobody is with us. We often think that is because they don’t care or don’t want to do it too or don’t want to give something else up to be on board…maybe any or all of that is true.
Yet, I wonder if it is also because we do not say what matters most often enough.
I have often said we read the scriptures or listen to sermons because we need to hear constantly that we are loved by God no matter what – not because we do not “get it;” rather, because we all need to hear it…often.
God does not communicate as if we can read minds.
God tells us over and over and over again that we are loved. Then, when we finally hear it, God tells us over and over and…
There is health in that kind of communication. If we love one another, we will, of course, remind one another that we love each other. We will also show that love by constantly communicating our plans, our dreams, and our hopes. And, because God made us this way, we can also get done the things that will change communities and lives.
Nate Whittaker, Coach