A common thread that can be seen in romantic novels is lack of communication. One or even both of them ‘hide’ their interests and pretend as if there is no chemistry simmering. The reason could be ‘noble’ (for example – assumed lack of sustainability in the long term, inappropriate to pursue a relationship given the nature of their friendship – perhaps boss’s child or sibling’s friend etc). However, more often than not it is either pride or fear of rejection or even fear of love and commitment. If the other person is someone who is steady, i.e. not a ‘player’, then the defenses rise up further as they don’t want to ‘hurt’ the other.
This is not far from the truth in real life either. Different reasons drive us to ‘hide’ our true feelings despite the age or maturity. Conservative cultures merely add to this. We are unable to spell it out directly that we would like to get to know the other person in view of a relationship. Of course, there is a time for everything… and discernment is necessary to know when to merely observe and just be friends and when to put a step forward to steer the direction as to where it could head.
Fears – of commitment or rejection or love – is more common in guys than in girls. By nature itself males tend to be task driven so as far as they are concerned a relationship gets in the way. Is it then of any wonder, that the Bible instructs men to love their wives whereas the reverse is not mentioned. By nature, females are relationship oriented and for them a feeling of fulfillment is complete only when she has a significant other. These are natural tendencies and having said that, males and females alike have their fears and respond accordingly.
However, the contradiction between their body language (showing interest) and their words (denying interest) – or perhaps their attention and abrupt withdrawal leaves the other playing guessing games. When the person withdrawing or holding back isn’t ready, no matter how mature the other is and attempts open honest communication, this person doesn’t respond… Well, they are obviously confused and hence are clueless as to what to say.. If they admit interest, they may be scared that they would get carried away with the flow and get into a relationship that they aren’t sure about. So they take the easy route of denial and thus lies.
Desperate to understand what is going on, the party being closed off ends up assuming things. Well, can you blame them? They also need a ‘closure’ or something to base their decision on – whether to wait or to move on in life… Sadly due to the lack of the other person’s directness, this one ends up making their ‘speculations’ into a ‘theory’ or a ‘fact’.
Having said that, for some people space is required and for some others (especially those who have a self esteem issue or need major healing in certain areas) constant demonstration of love (not molly cuddling or suffocating attention) helps them get out of their shells and fears. Discernment is required in each case.
Interestingly, we don’t play these guessing games only in relationships but in how we study God’s Word too. It is indeed important to study each verse in its context – of verse, passage, chapter, book, testament and the Word in its entirety.. just as much as it is ideal to understand the historical, geographical and cultural settings.
Speculation of the setting (as it’s in a different era and culture to where we are right now) helps to broaden our perspectives and think outside the box. It helps us step out of our narrow minded thinking and out of the black and white mentality so to speak. However, the moment the speculation becomes an absolute conclusion, we are adding to God’s Word.
When doing a character study in the Bible, we have to bear in mind that we cannot step into their shoes and determine what their motive was in saying something. How often do we say something but do not mean it – perhaps out of fear or even out of a desire to protect someone or ourselves or something? We can speculate motives or we can ask God for discernment in a current situation. However, if something isn’t spelt out in the Bible, it is wrong – simply and directly said – to assume and conclude based on that.
For example, I have heard many people say that Joseph was ‘bragging’ about his vision to his family and that’s what caused the detour in his life. I think that’s speculation and mishandling God’s Word. That could be a possibility – but at the end of the day the Bible never mentions Joseph being condemned for ‘bragging’ on this count let alone has it been spelt out that he ‘bragged’. So we can’t safely assume that was the case. If Joseph hadn’t ‘shared’ this vision with his family, would the family have believed Joseph if he had stated the ‘vision’ after it actually was fulfilled? Where would the testimony lie then? Besides, Joseph makes it clear to his family at the ‘re-union’ that they had intended it for harm but God had turned it around for good.
If you had a vision, wouldn’t you excitedly share it with your close ones?
Anyway, pardon my ‘coloured’ language here but I’m writing this following phrase just the way I have heard it as it drives a point home..
Don’t ASS-U-ME and make an ass out of you and me!
Sadly, I have done that myself many times with others – guessed, assumed (and that was to convince myself that I wasn’t seeing discrepancies between the words and body language – hence to please others by agreeing with them) and came up to wrong conclusions..
We need to really ask God for discernment and not assume and conclude based on speculations
when it comes to not only relationships with others but also with the way we study God’s Word.