There Is No "They"

I mentioned yesterday that the past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind.  I’m slowly coming up for air and one of the things that means, is I’ve been able to catch up on blogs…I mean, I had 32 unread “Suri’s Burn Book” posts in my reader–that NEVER happens!

If it weren’t for Cally or Anna Kate sending me the best of the best, I would have missed out on gems like this, or this.

Anyways, that’s a long way of saying that I’m catching up!

One blog I’ve recently stumbled upon is Jen Hatmaker.  I’ve been LOVING it!  This morning, I read her post on “The Mythical ‘They” and pretty much resonated with everything she said.

It’s so easy to make sweeping generalizations about people, or groups.  I know I am the worst!  Remember my first thoughts about B?  Let’s just say, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight…

If you have the time, I definitely recommend reading her full post.  If not, here’s an excerpt:

There is no they.

It is immature and lazy to imagine we know everything there is to know about someone before we know that someone. We don’t know their stories, their histories, their real live human feelings. We don’t know their favorite movies and best memories and what makes them afraid. It is unfair to take one fact, one thing they’ve said or we heard they said, or one thing they wrote, or someone else’s experience, or a group they identify with and make a character sketch. If people did that to us, the picture would be so woefully incomplete, we wouldn’t even recognize our own description.

Who is your they? Is it a group? Because guilt by association is the lowest form of assessment. No group is all the same. They may have one line item in common, one belief, one perspective or mission, but that camaraderie is not the sum total of a person’s character. She is other things besides that. Probably a bunch of stuff just like you. You’d be surprised.

Is your they an individual? Have you invented a barrier based on anything but sustained personal connection? Maybe you think you know how someone will react or respond, but you could be as wrong about them as they are about you.

I suspect we misjudge people 90% of the time. Experience tells me I can sit down over coffee with almost any perceived adversary and end up laughing until my ribs ache. We were born on the same day, we both quit reading the same book halfway through, we are both worried about parenting, we both love Jesus even if we don’t agree on all the dressings. Common ground abounds…

The Mythical They is a lie, and we can do better than this. Will you be brave? Do you need to pick up the phone or send an email and ask someone to coffee? Perhaps it’s time to stop painting a group with a wide brush and get close enough to see what those folks are actually like; you will never regret giving someone a chance, but you might forever regret carrying a fake grudge to your deathbed. Let’s refuse to buy into this horrid game. Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt, some actual time. We’ll listen and connect and try to understand each other like the People of Mercy we supposedly are.

Isn’t that amazing?!  Read Jen’s full post here.