You have probably read or heard the following fable. If not, then consider it:
There is an old fable about six men blind from birth who lived in India. One day they decided to visit a nearby palace. When they arrived, there was an elephant standing in the courtyard. The first blind men touched the side of the elephant and said, “An elephant is like a wall.” The second blind man touched his trunk and said, “An elephant is like a snake.” The third man touched his tusk and said, “An elephant is like a spear.” The fourth touched his leg and said, “An elephant is like a tree.” The fifth blind man touched his ear and said, “An elephant is like a fan.” The sixth man touched his tail and said, “An elephant is like a rope.” Because each blind man touched a different part of the elephant none of them could agree on what the elephant is really like.
Bringing that analogy into the spiritual realm brings up several scenarios.
The most obvious is how people have misconceptions about God and what He is really like. For example, it is real popular to talk about and like a God of grace and mercy. And He is. If not I’m in deep, deep trouble. But at the same time, those same people don’t like to think of a God of justice and wrath. Another is hearing that God is Omniscient (All-Knowing), but believing God has limited knowledge (Open Theism). He can’t know tomorrow and is surprised by things happening. (Picture God with the McCauley Caulkin look on the packaging from Home Alone).
Another scenario is when we have misconceptions about people. We jump to conclusions about motives (very dangerous to judge). We write people “off” as Losers. We have a misconception of who they are based on several factors. Jo called me on something I said the other day. We were driving and a jogger was running with her back to traffic on a pretty narrow road. I commented, “Idiot.” (Yeah, real nice coming out of my mouth). She said, “I don’t like that name. I don’t like to be called that.” You see, she works at the BMV and has been called every name in the book, and then some, so she knows the sting of unwarranted comments. I have no clue why she was running with her back to traffic. Perhaps she had just crossed over and was turning down a street. My misconception judged her- and worse- called her a not-so-nice name.
Be careful of having misconceptions. It saves a lot of embarrassment…like having to apologize. It also saves from wrong views that need corrected. Do you fight misconceptions on a daily basis or is it a rare “ugly” that rears its head?