There’s always that classic line in romantic comedies when someone catches their partner embracing someone else.
“It’s not what you think” or “it’s not what it looks like.”
Quite often in the rom coms, it is what it looks like, but there is a lesson for life here. We make snap judgments about people and situations all the time but it’s very likely that ‘it’s not what we think’ it is.
I’ll give you a lighthearted example.
It seems that this writing thing runs in the family as my Dad recently published a book! It’s called the Gospel in Golf and follows a group of amateur, middle-aged golfing men (basically, my Dad and his friends) wandering around the golf course. Each chapter tells the story of the exciting play (not) at holes 1 to 18 and, of course the 19th, while also reflecting on a biblical truth or application for the Christian life.
In the process of writing his book, Dad asked me to proofread. However, I was pretty surprised at one particular detail.
“Half way down the 8th fairway is a primitive enclosure which is locally called a “toilet”. It contains no porcelain, gold taps, hand sanitisers or warmed towels.
The Gospel in Golf, John Horry. Page 59.
I was amazed - ‘People just wee in the bushes on a golf course?!’
Of course, it makes sense. Golf is a long game and I couldn’t hold it in for four hours or more. So knowing the problems middle-aged, not to say “old” men have - I guess it is understandable. But still - on a carefully manicured golf course?!
I’ve never really been to these places but my perception has always been that it is a very posh and civilised affair. Where the creases in your trousers should be ironed in, round necked T-Shirts are not allowed, trainers are banned and there’s a posh restaurant that stretches the purse strings a little and you have to wait for the captain to take his jacket off. Turns out, it’s also a place where you can pee in a bush.
It’s a silly example but my point is, I had made a certain judgement about golf courses based on the information I had; what I’d absorbed through media or from other people. Maybe some golf clubs don’t condone such an act or maybe they provide toilets on the course but my perception of a round of golf was definitely wrong in some senses.
Don’t we all do that in life?
We judge a person for an action when we don’t really know the full situation. We might then pass that information on but it becomes distorted by our personal perception. This then stirs the pot up even more.
There’s a lot on social media about ‘being kind’, which has had a resurgence after the racial abuse of England’s footballers this week.
I think one act of kindness is not making pre-judgements or snap decisions about someone. Whether that’s based on the way they dress, talk or act. Whatever it is.
Meeting them as they are and for who they are is kind, whether they know about it or not.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.”
Matthew 7:12 ESV
I’ve decided to be kinder to golf courses from now on. Maybe they’re not that pretentious after all?