In my last post, I told the story of finding a stray dog while out for a walk. I have no new updates on “Rocket’s” status at this point. We still have not found his owner. He appears happy and content with us for the moment.
As I wrote about our finding Rocket, I began to realize that many aspects of our crossing paths were similar to assumptions I made about unbelievers when I talk to them. Here are just a few of the similarities.
I had a plan
When Zeva and I were initially approached by an unknown dog, I had a plan. I knew from past experiences how I would handle the situation depending on how the strange dog would react. Had the dog been aggressive, I would have acted very differently to protect my dog.
In the same way, when I talk with unbelievers, I have a plan. I know what I am going to say if things turn ugly. I’ve been in that situation before. There is an exit strategy already in my head. I know when things are going downhill in a conversation, and how I will extract myself should it become unfruitful.
I Tried To Determine Historical Information
As we began to try and figure out Rocket’s history, I realized we were drawing a lot of conclusions based on little evidence. We were trying to figure out where he came from but didn’t have much to go on.
When we have conversations with strangers, we don’t know where they are coming from. Sometimes I am guilty of making assumptions about how I think people will act or think based on very little information. Asking the other person to reveal their own story is always a better tactic than making an assumption based on guesswork.
I Made Assumptions About When Rocket Was Hurt
Rocket had some injuries. I have no idea how they got there. We can only speculate the cause. This has led to some theories about what his previous owners might have done to him. But without knowing when the injuries occurred, we can’t be certain that he wasn’t injured after he left his previous home.
The people we talk to are often wounded emotionally. This is true of both Christians and non-believers alike. Knowing the wound is there can help us understand why a person is reacting or arguing the way they are. But we shouldn’t speculate as to how the wound occurred, or who caused it. If the other person is willing to share, great! If not, simply be aware of the fact that the wound exists. Don’t do anything to pick at the wound. The Gospel is offensive enough for most. There is no need to cause unnecessary pain.
I Made Assumptions About How Rocket’s Injuries Caused Him To Act
We made some assumptions about Rocket based on how he reacted to us. He didn’t flinch or try to stop us from looking at his wounds. We assumed that this meant that he hadn’t been abused regularly. But we don’t know this for sure. He could very well have had a bad life prior to this.
Just as we shouldn’t speculate on where other people’s wounds come from, we shouldn’t make assumptions about how they will act due to those wounds. I have met people that have been through some unbelievable circumstances that have gone on to live incredibly fruitful lives. Other handle even the most trivial adversity poorly. While our culture tells us that our upbringing defines who we must be, I have found that people are much more resilient than we give them credit for.
Studies have shown links between upbringing and belief or lack of belief. But as with all studies, there are always exceptions. Let the other person tell you their story in their time. Stay away from statements like “you just believe that because…”. It’s not only uncharitable, its often counterproductive.
Rocket Is Getting More Comfortable
Rocket has been with us a few days now. He is still incredibly sweet and loving. Initially Rocket was reserved and shy. But as he’s gotten to know us, his personality is starting to show through. He gets excited when one of us comes home. He follows my daughter everywhere. As he gets to know us better, he trusts us more.
People aren’t going to share their deepest, darkest secrets with you right off the bat. They want to know that they can trust you first. Often relationship is our greatest apologetic. As one professor often says, “You are the only Bible some people may read”. We are ambassadors for Christ. Are we represent our Sovereign accordingly?I will keep you all posted on what happens with Rocket. Please continue to pray that he finds the best home possible for him, either with his previous family or with us.
Update: Rocket’s family was located, and he was returned to his rightful owners. His name turned out to be “Gunner”. He had only been loose for a few hours when we found him. We are glad he was reunited with his family!
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