I pulled into the drive outside a white house ~ #7.
I sat with the kids in the car, weighing up the prompt I felt in God to go here... against the facts Id been told.
Id been told the right house was #57: Thats where the couple lived whose meal I was dropping off.
I had all the kids in the car while I sat engine running, mulling over the weight I felt to go knock on this door.. ignoring it, I drove on to the right house, #57.
I congratulated myself as I pulled into the 'right' driveway and took the meal in. The carpet cleaner met me at a now empty home;"Oh, you're looking for them... they are actually just at friends house down the road, why don't you drop the meal off there?". I hesitated for a second, wondering whether I should even bother them.. yet with his super warm smile he said "Theyre just at the lane a few doors down, at house #7.
The penny didn't drop right there.
I got back in the car, drove up to the road again and said "okay, #7, where is that?.... oh wait! I know where number #7 is". And back I went to the white house. You better believe that I sat outside that home for more than just a moment with a little awe.
I was watching Aircraft Investigations with my son yesterday, and one of the investigators was explaining how he felt when he arrives at a crash site.
He went on to describe how investigators purposefully don't turn on the news or radio prior to visiting a crash site. They don't allow outside opinions to creep in, before beginning their work: simply because it subconsciously affects the way they undertake their investigation. He explained how important it was to begin investigations with no subconscious bias so they can search thoroughly for accurate clues.
We all hold opinion bias and the reality is, it makes us blind to the potential of the bigger picture - especially what the Holy Spirit is saying. Thats the danger of gossip. We hear partial facts, and even if we don't necessarily feel that we've taken on board those ideas emotionally, it creates an "opinion bias" in our interaction with people. I know because Ive been there! When you hold that partiality, all behaviour subconsciously filters through what we've been told.. and we can often conclude "They must be right, because it makes sense!".
The Holy Spirit has no opinion bias. He is the prompt that says #7 not #57 against all your logical facts. He is the one that says "This person is mine" when you're about to write someone off. He is the one that says "Talk to them" when their countenance says not to bother. When we ignore that prompt, we miss the hidden blessing that God has in store for our lives. The tender conversation, the opportunity to minister and bless, the indescribable joy that comes when we know our lives are in tune with His. Its not that its easy or without inconvenience... it ALWAYS requires us to be brave and say "Im going to take a risk here!"
I was talking to a friend today about the times we hesitate to listen to that prompt...
"What if Im wrong?, What if they don't like me? What if they think less of me? What if Im just being a pain!?"
Have you ever had that? When you felt you should pray for someone, or give someone a gift, or tell someone you care about them, or let someone know you're thinking of them.... but ignore it because that person is complicated, or youve heard some things about them, or maybe you just think they really don't need to hear it from little old you... and what if you end up looking like a ridiculous idiot?
But what if you actually saw yourself the way God sees you?!!
What if you were brave enough to step up and speak the truth?
What if you dropped off that meal to that house that you keep feeling you should, but why would they need it?
What if you dropped a note into your friends letterbox that said "You're valued and heres why..?"
What if you stopped to talk to that person who you had written off?
What if you told your leader how much they bless you, even though you're sure they don't need to hear it from you?
What if you phoned that person that youve had on your heart all week?
If you and I are going to stop operating out of those places of Opinion Bias... we need to slow down enough to hear what God is saying. We need to lean into the EXTRAVAGANT opinion He has of us and hear what He is saying. We need to stop listening to the reasoning voice of fear and timidity and start listening to the voice of God which says "I AM AND IN MY NAME"
And who knows what door that could open?
What Opinion Bias do you hold right now that is stopping you!? What is stopping you stepping into that place of service in the Church that you feel God has laid on your heart? Maybe you love children but won't step up because you feel its insignificant, or maybe you want to reach out to someone elderly and drop around flowers, but are scared they might just think you're a pain? But what if there is one child in that Church whose life you can forever change, because you showed up? And what if that elderly person is going to speak words of wisdom and insight into your life that will empower you forever? How will you know if you don't dare to let go of only half the facts?
Next time the Holy Spirit prompts you to stop short of a destination or a conclusion about someone you were about to make.. lean in... God has something more for you!