STEPPING BEYOND BIAS
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” – Mt. 11:16-19
When I first came across Gospel passages like today’s, I would wonder how could people be so oblivious as to not recognize Jesus - the Son of God - in their midst? With all the signs, wonders, miracles, works, how was there still so much disbelief, scorn even? Of course, I have the benefit of seeing this history in hindsight, already knowing what happens later and being taught in the faith that I live by today.
Looking around though, I am surprised to find this dynamic still at play nowadays. A few months ago, I was interviewing candidates for a position for which I was hiring. I connected with one person in particular - a recent college graduate, with a portfolio of creative work equivalent to that of someone five years beyond her. Yet when she interviewed with the rest of my team and the senior leadership team, no one else liked her. They were concerned about her professionalism, her capabilities, her qualifications, and her personality. One colleague went as far as to presume she might have a mental disorder. I really did not know what to do, because this candidate would have to work with all these people. I myself was not sure even if I hired her, how long she might stay. We had a few moments of tension as well through the interview process, and I really could not tell if this would be worth it.
Yet this reminded me of similar moments before, where I wanted to hire a particular type of person - someone who was very creative, yet did not necessarily make the best first impression. I always went with the person that everyone liked more, and the creative work suffered. This time, after substantial reflection, it seemed worth taking the risk. The only word that kept coming up in prayer was “trust.” We extended an offer, and to my surprise, the tone shifted literally overnight. This new hire made a substantial donation to the school the next day, and her work has already been leaps and bounds beyond any other designer we’ve had before. Most importantly though, she has brought an incredibly sweet, funky, fun energy. Slowly but surely, the initial naysayers have also come to admire her dearly. Wisdom truly is vindicated by her works.
It helped me to have confidence in listening to Jesus more closely within myself, but it also made me wonder: in what ways have I been one of those initial naysayers myself? Where have I turned a biased eye or allowed others to, for the sake of getting along and missing the opportunity to see more?
Jesus, help me to see others and situations as you see them - in the depths of your tender, merciful, loving heart.
Quyen (Nhi) Ngo