Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 John 4:1 ESV
Life is a teacher without your consent. No matter what you do or where you are, as long as you’re living, you’re going to learn. That’s a constant, from the least concerning to those of great importance, every lesson is meant to help build your artillery of knowledge. If you know me, you’d know I’m the first to admit that going with God doesn’t feel good around the clock. Making good decisions doesn’t feel great all of the time but when you use the lesson to your advantage in a later situation, you become grateful. That’s been one of my latest experiences and God allowed the situation to gift me with a valuable lesson that I can now keep for later use and to teach others to watch out…in this case, for loopholes.
What had happened was…
A loophole is a term typically associated with business and contracts but can play a role in even the most casual of moments and relationships. I’ve noticed a few loopholes in the past few weeks myself. I traveled with a close friend to support her business as she pursued a great marketing opportunity. It’d expose her brand to a new audience with high chances of gaining new clientele and so, she couldn’t turn this down and I wouldn’t let her! Also, knowing this would be free advertising made it all the better! We go in expecting one thing and left the meeting focusing on something completely different than the purpose of the trip. In short, we thought she’d be interviewed about her brand and shown to a large audience; things didn’t go quite how we had assumed they would. She’d be writing an advertisement for her business, not interviewed on camera to be shown. Either way, it’s still a blessing and it’s still free. However, after she checked in, was welcomed by staff, and seated in front of the guy in charge, she was briefly asked about her business, and given a sheet of paper to fill out describing what she wanted the ad to say. The rest of the time was centered on presenting first, her, then me, with job openings the company intended to fill.
Before you know it
There are so many things to unpack here. I’d like to point out that I was interested in a job to position myself, extra money doesn’t hurt anyone! But during the course of the meeting, I noticed how everything shifted. We came in with an expectation and sold another. How’d that happen? Loopholes. Most people hate loopholes and I get it. They only exist because they are overlooked. Notice I said overlooked and not hidden. Many times we tend to overlook or simply refuse to read the fine print because it’s inconvenient for us to devote more than a few seconds to read the terms and conditions of what we want to access. That’s exactly what happened here. It wasn’t a case of being scammed, no matter how much it felt like one, it was a case of reading the room, the fine print, and taking into account not only what’s being said, but who and how it’s communicated. There were signs, huge signs that told us where the conversation was headed, the demeanor of the person, the sales pitch of jobs, and the benefits were pushed much more than highlighting entrepreneurs within the meeting.
The “I” & “U” in assumptions
By definition, a loophole is defined as: ” an ambiguity or omission in the text through which the intent of a statute, contract, or obligation may be evaded.” 1 What we assumed would be an interview that would serve as an ad turned into something completely different. The keyword from the definition I want to highlight is omission. What would be the focus of the meeting wasn’t detailed or even mentioned beforehand. While I think it’s shady to omit the details with the beauty of realistic promises, it’s not anyone else’s responsibility but ours to be and remain awake and aware. Distraction can’t happen without being willing to be distracted and that can happen without being fully aware that you did. How? Through assumptions. Assumptions are the pieces we invent and place in gaps of information to make sense of things. Although unsubstantiated, our assumptions create possibilities that we expect in reality and BOOM! When expectations aren’t met, we feel deceived, manipulated, and disappointed. While there was manipulation present in this situation, we both contributed to our own manipulation by believing in our own assumptions.
The point of it all.
Why am I talking about this? Why did I commit to writing this long post about beliefs, assumptions, blurred lines, and expectations? It’s simple. As the scripture states above, we must test the spirit and believe the fruit of what they produce. This isn’t about bashing a company or their system, we didn’t lose anything, nor were we harmed by any means; but if we take this example and apply to it how we interact with God, traditions, false teachers/prophets, our own comfort zones, we could glean a lot about our willingness to use discernment and our willingness to be ignorant.
In life, you’ll get signs and it’s up to you to see, interpret and move accordingly or to ignore them to obtain what you want. There are times we will neglect warning advice and guidance because it’ll stop us from making the decision we want, not need. The sign of a toxic relationship, the signs that you’re not passionate about this career choice and school may be an option, the sign that your health is depleting but you’re craving the burger. Signs are literally everywhere. Now, this wasn’t a horrible experience and there’s much more to detail about this experience, but I learned so much from one encounter, so to sum it all up here are the takeaways:
- Never ignore the signs. If you want to, then it’s time to confront why that is.
- It’s never safe to assume.
- Asking questions is a form of advocacy. Do it!
- Pay attention to the demeanor of those around you. Their response to questions, doubt, or concern reveals plenty.
- Research on your own. Ask those your trust to either prove reliable information or point you to someone who can.
(1)“Loophole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loophole. Accessed 30 Mar. 2022.
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