March 30/April 1

Written by Bill Grandi on March 31st, 2019

I was away for a few days and will be sort of out of commission until late Tuesday. But I did some relaxing and thinking and reading and wrote this in response to something I read in the Scripture.

My title for this devotion is Preconceived ideas vs Reality.

A very intriguing story (to me) is found in Joshua 22, a story which involves a preconceived idea by the people of Israel against some of their own people-the people of Reuben, people of Gad and the 1/2 tribe of Manasseh. The latter group had built an altar and the other tribes were up in arms. Their concern was legitimate. Had these three tribes already gone against the mandate of having no other gods and built an altar? They sent Phinehas and representatives from the tribes to inquire. Phinehas laid it all out on the table, seeking an answer.

Good thing too. Their answer was honest and straight-forward and had absolutely nothing to do with being unfaithful to God. It had everything to with remembering. Not them but their fellow Israelites settled on the other side of the Jordan. It was to serve as a reminder to the other tribes not to forget them!

My point is the other tribes were ready to go to war against them over a preconceived idea. Do you realize how disastrous that would have been to the nations on their new land? Both those who settled and built the altar of witness and those who would have acted rashly.

I remember an old MacGyver TV episode where he was trying to teach someone that principle. He used a story from his youth and summed it up by saying he was so sure this boy had stolen his knife that he fought him over it. Then he went home and found it on his dresser.

It is so easy to do the same thing…and not on a TV show. How many church “fights” or divisions have happened because of preconceived irritations? Hair-brained accusations dreamed up because of gossip? We need more Phinehas’ who went to them, stated the concern, listened to their response, and totally defused the situation.

“Father, help me to be a Phinehas. Help me not to have preconceived ideas that cloud my vision; cause me to accuse, especially with unfounded ones; or cause me to cause division. Help me gather facts before I accuse.”


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Amen, Bill! Preconceived notions are an invitation to danger in our potential relationships with others. I read this passage not long ago, and I loved the fact that the altar was erected that their brothers and sisters in God’s family would ever be remembered. So we should also remember our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I love that fact also Martha. I think that is why it was so critical for Phinehas to take such a pro-active approach. Get the facts first. Thanks for the comment. I hope your time away is beneficial.

  2. Wow! How convicting, Bill. Thank you. This is especially so for those of us in leadership within our churches.

  3. Bill, I just wrote a new post based on your post this morning. That’s how convicting it was to me. Thank you.

  4. Ryan S. says:

    I learned something early on in my adulthood about conflict, which by the way is not always bad. There will be conflict, the issue typically is how the conflict is handled.

    I must seek first to understand.

    Preconceived ideas will happen. In marriage, in life, in raising of children, in work, in church. Sometimes, they can be accurate, however, more often than not, they can be exaggerated or completely wrong.

    The danger, as you said Bill, is when those preconceived ideas are acted upon and the perception vs reality is significantly different.
    That is where the damage is done.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Seek first to understand. Wise words. And that will often stop the unwarranted preconceived ideas. Thanks for a thoughtful comment Ryan,