I pray you’re better at this than I am. It’s a work in progress. Unfortunately, it’s a thing for many professing Christians. I’m talking about assuming.
There are many reasons why we do it, but none of them are good. Assessing society, it seems unlikely Christians recognize assuming’s impact when we make assumptions based on…
…where someone goes to church, or that they don’t. (In 2020, are they attending in person or online.)
…how someone is dressed.
…how they respond to current events.
…what they drive.
…where they live.
…where they went to college, or that they didn’t.
…what we read, hear, or observe about them.
…what they are or aren’t passionate about.
…how they view past history, or that they don’t.
…what we believe the future does or doesn’t hold.
This prayer by author Stephen Mattson was on my Facebook feed today. It spoke to me because I had already confessed more than one assumption today-assumptions made in church of all places. As I said, a work in progress.
I’m grateful God’s mercy and forgiveness are unending-something assumers should add to this prayer.
Twice. Not once. Two times today the same thing happened. Once in my office and now at home.
Both times I was looking for something and couldn’t find it. It wasn’t long until I found it, but when I did I had literally walked by it several times. What is going on?
Well, I know the answer, and no, it’s not OPS (old people syndrome-not a real thing, but something someone made up).
Both times I had overlooked the obvious because I assumed what I was looking for wasn’t in that spot. I subconsciously eliminated choices based on assumptions. My mind was temporarily shut off from considering those options.
Huh? Interesting. Chew on that for a second.
When I paused to chew on this thought, it seemed apparent to me that we humans do this often. We overlook the obvious. Why?
- Sometimes out of ignorance, meaning we need someone to point it out to us. Like asking the grocery clerk, “Where is the lettuce,” while standing beside it in the produce section.
- Sometimes out of arrogance, meaning we know we’re right, regardless. Like saying, “Yes, honey, I checked my wallet and that $50 is not there,” only to find it behind the $10 when you look again 10 minutes later.
- Sometimes out of hurriedness, meaning we don’t stop and think. Like saying to yourself, “But I always put my keys right here,” knowing full well that always is such a broad word that almost always should make you stop and think.
Should I go on?
I’ll stop there and encourage all of us to consider our ignorance, arrogance, and hurriedness. How blessed we’d be to eliminate these from our lives. Not just once. Not even just twice. Daily. And certainly when we want to give ourselves an out, like making up our own syndrome.
(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)
The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished…The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (Proverbs 17:5, 27-28 HCSB)
Who would dare insult God? Who would think that would bring peace to one’s heart?
Yet, our desire to be perceived somehow as better than can lead us to do exactly that, insult God.
We insult God by criticizing his creation. That includes people.
We insult God by assuming we know the reasons behind his actions. We mere humans.
We insult God by thinking our words need to be heard. Even above his.
“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor GOD with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent GOD ’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that GOD corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.”Proverbs 3:5-12 MSG
Reading this passage this morning from the Message, I see some good don’ts that I can always use to have in the memory bank.
- Don’t try to figure everything out on your own – the opposite issues from arrogance and pride
- Don’t assume that you know it all – the opposite fosters independence that leaves God out of the story
- Don’t resent God’s discipline – the opposite undermines His authority and character of compassion
- Don’t sulk under his loving correction – the opposite reveals immaturity and selfishness
To keep these dont’s in check, do trust, do listen, do honor, do give the best and the first, and do run to God.