Expectations . . .
They are the bane of relationships.
Few if any, can meet another person’s expectations.
Just ask any Knight in Shining Armor that has fallen off his horse.
Ask any Pastor that has fallen off the pedestal that people put him on.
Just ask ANYONE placed in a position of authority.
They ALL come up short of someone ELSES expectation of THEM.
Why do you suppose this is?
The first thing that comes to mind is that expectations are certainties. This is how it is defined by modern dictionaries:
- To consider probable or certain
There in lies a HUGE problem. An expectation is NOT certain.
We are not fortune tellers. We are not omniscient. Even the definition itself is NOT certain . . . probable does not = certain.
Notice how expectation is defined by modern dictionaries:
- the act or state of expecting : anticipation
Oops. It looks like we have same kind of divergence here as well.
Notice the word “anticipation?”
If you had to choose, would this word mean probable or certain?
For me, these definitions a just a microcosm of the problems with language today.
It is like saying 1=1 or 1=2 . . . your choice.
It wasn’t always this way.
In the 1530s, expectation did NOT mean certainty.
It is from the Latin expectationem.
It meant anticipation – an awaiting – to look out for.
For me, I have worked very hard to change my perceptions and understandings of words to biblical understandings of words. I do this for a couple of reasons.
- It helps me understand how words were actually used in the bible without today’s culture and understanding mucking it all up.
- It is a foundation for language that does NOT change – does NOT ebb and flow with the changing whims of culture and society.
So how does the bible define expectation?
With a single word – hope.
Tôcheleth Phonetic Pronunciation: to-kheh’-leth
Let’s look at a verse using Tôcheleth (expectation) and see how it is used.
“Look, any hope [of capturing him] is futile—
one would fall prostrate at the very sight of him.
Job 41:9 (Complete Jewish Bible)
Does this look like a CERTAINTY?
That is part of the problem with words today.
They don’t mean what they mean.
They can change depending on nothing more than feelings.
It will not surprise me if some in this country eventually decide that words have no meaning –
that it is all subjective. After all, gender is and that is based on words. If it was based on science, there would be no debate.
Why is this important?
When we have expectations of people, is it hope or certainty that we have?
In other words, does hope cause us to get angry or certainty when they fail to meet OUR expectations?
I will let that sink in for just a moment.
You see, when we have expectations defined as certainty – people will fail.
How can they not? The fact that people have certain expectations that someone will do this or do that, proves that they are not certain in the first place or it would NOT be called an expectation – an anticipation – a hope. It is a paradoxical argument in futility – with YOURSELF!
Even in the Greek of the text, it is not certainty. It is “a waiting for” – a “looking for”:
The people were in a state of great expectancy,
and everyone was wondering whether perhaps Yochanan himself
might be the Messiah;
Luke 3:15 (Complete Jewish Bible)
They were wondering . . . NOT certain!
So we come to a time of year (Thanksgiving through Christmas) that produce expectations from us to other members of our families. We have HOPES that we can spend time with them – share memories – share our lives with them – them share their lives with us.
However, when our hopes morph into modern day understanding of CERTANTIES, people rarely measure up. These are the holidays where people get hurt – where people get angry. Where the lines between selfless and selfish become so blurred that ALL are casualties of war. Certainty is not the same as hope – certainty OWES you!
Anger – bitterness – a hard heart.
You see, an expectation defined as certainty is the antithesis of love . . .
It is NOT kind . . .
It IS easily angered . . .
It IS selfish . . .
It does NOT bear up . . .
It does NOT endure . . .
It KEEPS a record of wrongs . . .
It is NOT merciful . . .
It ACCUSES . . .
It is hard when you love someone for them to let you down.
Yeshua, when he asked Kefa to stay awake with Him and pray,
had mercy on him when he saw him asleep . . .
The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
An expectation based on certainty ignores this very real fact.
People will be selfish – they will be weak – they will be petty – they will lie
They will be human because the flesh is weak.
If our “expectation” is that they will not be, we are in for a lot of disappointment.
We can have mercy on them . . .
70X7 mercy on them, and realize,
they are who they are –
NOT who we want them to be.
Not who we at times, EXPECT them to be.
They fall asleep when we need them the most.
We can have “hope” that they wont
and mercy on them when they do.
That is who being a child in Messiah is.