Assumptions get people into trouble, and yet we all do it. We often do it unknowingly. We witness a brief moment in another person’s life or hear part of a story, and then we fill in the gaps in our mind. We may not think about it again until the moment the assumption is undone. This can be embarrassing or even destructive depending on the nature of the assumption.
I have never been to court but I once – through work – had to write part of a report that was potentially going to be presented in court. I was instructed to clearly separate the facts and my own hypothesis (assumptions). This was because the Judge would have to base his decision on the facts presented not based on mine or another person’s opinion or view.
In our own lives, assuming is something we naturally do, but we have to careful what assumptions we make especially of others. There is one simple principle we can follow. Always assume the best. Give people the benefit of the doubt. What gets us in trouble is we often assume the worst .One of the greatest mistakes all of us have is to generalise people by just one mistake that they make. If they make a mistake we tend to slander their whole character. If a guy makes a foolish mistake – we consider him a fool. But this is not necessarily the truth. Maybe he is a good person who has just made one foolish mistake. Maybe he has just slipped and fallen in one time. Maybe he has just made a mistake.
Almost everyone has heard the phrase: “You can’t judge a book by the cover.” The same is true of people. Look beyond the mistake, look at the person’s real character and you may be surprised what you find.
The Bible addresses this issue. Assumption is a nice word for judging. When we assume something about someone else, we are making a judgement about them. Matthew 7:1 is a popular verse and we like the fact that Jesus said, “Do not judge” but we often fail to understand the context of his statement. What Jesus is prohibiting in Matthew 7:1 is a particular kind of judgement. We are not to judge unfairly. We are to follow the golden rule and treat others the way we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). We are not to be hypocritical (Matthew 7:3-5).
Jesus always sought after those we would naturally assume not to be the kind of people he would take time to talk to; like the woman at the well, Zacchaeus and Matthew, the tax collectors. Jesus was after their hearts and if we take time to also reach out to people and not assume we will always find a deeper meaning and yearning in each person.
A daily devotion for a better way of living.