The Evil of Assumption
“Well, I just assumed you knew about it and would come.”
“Since you walked right by me and didn’t speak, I assumed you were mad.”
"Did you see ____ crying last night? I bet they are having marriage problems.”
How many times do we assume we know what is going on in someone else’s life, the reason for their behavior, the motive behind their decisions, or what they know? I must confess I have been guilty of assuming more than once.
Webster's dictionary states: “to assume means to think something is true without knowing that it is true”. The real danger is when we act or avoid action because of what we are assuming.
The Bible gives us some examples of the dangers of assuming. The captain Naaman, in the Old Testament, assumed the prophet himself would come out and talk with him. When he did not, Naaman’s pride was hurt, and had it not been for his servant, Naaman, would have walked away in anger and would not have been healed from leprosy.
Job suffered a great deal: the loss of his children, his wealth, his position of influence, and his health. His friends assumed they knew the reason for this tragedy; they assumed it was the result of hidden sin. Reacting under this assumption, they were anything but kind and encouraging to Job. More importantly, they were wrong.
In the Book of Esther, Haman assumed the King was talking about him when asked how to honor someone. Under this assumption, Haman described how he would like to be honored. To his dismay he assumed wrong. The honor was to go to his enemy, Mordecai.
It is easy to see that assumption stems from pride and can lead to misunderstandings, hurt feelings, anger, broken relationships, and tarnished reputations. It is a work of the flesh.
Do we like people to make assumptions about us, our behavior, our motives, or our families? I know I do not. Jesus said in Matthew 7:12,“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them;”. If we do not want people making unfair assumptions about us, then we need to refrain from assuming about others.
According to 1 Corinthians 13, Godly love is not prideful, nor does it think evil. May we be slower to voice our opinions about others and guard against the evil of assuming. If you must assume, then assume something positive, kind, and loving.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
When are you prone to make assumptions? Have they ever been wrong?
Determine with the Lord's help, to exercise grace the next time you are inclined to assume and refrain from speaking until you know the truth. Remember, we will reap what we sow.