ASSUMING makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me." (Excuse my language.)
Know (verb: to know)- To have established in the mind or memory; to understand from experience or attainment; to have knowledge or clear and certain perception.
Think about how many people you know. How many people do you have established in your mind or memory? How many people do you understand from experience, do you have a certain perception about?
How many people do you know?
I think this term is terrifyingly (is that a word?) overused. To know someone takes years and years of investment. Best friends spend their whole lives getting to know each other, marriages never get old because husbands and wives are constantly learning about one another.
I think to say we know our 1,000 Facebook friends or the 200 people listed in our phone, or the girl sitting at the table behind us in the restaurant, is a severe OVERstatement.
This has been my conviction lately because of the way we, especially (and unfortunately), followers of Christ consider ourselves so much "holier than thou," and judge those who are different or strangers, is unsettling to me. The way we can walk into a place and pass judgement almost instantly on the first people we see (whether we admit it or not) is exactly the way opposite of what God called us to do.
Not to mention that we never, ever know what someone is going through or what they have been through or what they have to go home to every night. We never know what demons they are fighting, or what thoughts they are trying to quiet. So not only do we know very few people, we judge many people, and we think we "know" complete strangers. I think I know we've got our stuff messed up.
SO, as a challenge to my own convictions and my brothers and sisters in Christ, before you laugh at someone, turn your nose at them, look away when they stare at you, or assume you've got them typed and figured out, remind yourself that 1. you are not holier than thou, 2. you have NO idea what that person deals with, and 3. you could probably learn a lot from them. Try smiling and maybe even saying hello. It's amazing the way God can use such a small act for a huge impact.
P.S.- I'd love to hear of the verses that come to mind when you read this.