I make them. Often. Do you?
I would almost state to you all that I fall into the category of having an “assumption battle” more often than I’d like to admit. I didn’t choose those words lightly. I’m a Type A personality – no doubt. I think quickly, I discern skillfully, and I arrive at decisions with comfortable and few reservations. …And when I’m not careful I assume too much.
I was much worse earlier in life than I am now thankfully. I watch a ton of movies. I love film. While watching one of my more favorite flicks, “Oceans 12” a scene jumped out at me and for some reason stuck like glue. Danny Ocean’s crew is being troubled by Toulour, a Frenchman, over something as silly as status in the uber-heist underworld. Toulour describes to Ocean why he’s got a case of the red rump with him, but then stumbles across a universal truth. I’ve set the link below up to start at 2:26, and you only need to watch it through roughly 3:30 or so…
So… For some strange reason bells went off in my head when I soaked up the tail end of that 5 minute scene. LaMarque was right, on and off screen. Some assumptions, while giving the appearance of being quite obvious are impossible to be known for sure. Period.
Again, silly as the day is long, I thought about that statement and began to apply it. I found myself assuming less often and the results were staggering. Honest to goodness, I feel like I’m a better man when I assume less.
Let’s not go nutty here either. Some assumptions, or more appropriately conclusions, are still appropriate and safe. Example? There’s a 3x convicted pedophile living on my block. Do I know with certainty he’s forever a pedophile? No, I guess I can’t say that with absolute certainty. Can I assume he’s unsafe to let play with my daughter unsupervised? You better believe it.
The assumptions I’m speaking of are more literally described as assumptions of facts not shown in evidence. Or maybe even conclusions drawn without enough information or support for the conclusion. Let me toss out a few for consideration.
Your friend walks into the cafe, but doesn’t set with you like he usually does. He must be upset with you, so you avoid him when you see him other places. Your family has a series of backyard barbecues, and you’re not specifically invited, so you take the chance to have your own shindig and don’t invite them. Your sister hasn’t responded to your text or voice messages for a week. You think it’s obvious she’s found somebody else to confide in, so you stop calling her. You have a friend that has always been part of your social sphere, but he’s spending his time with other people instead. You’re drifting apart, right? So you don’t reach out anymore. Your friend is having trouble in her marriage. She ordinarily comes to you for conversation about Faith, but she doesn’t after a particularly public incident. She must not be walking the Christian path any longer, so you write her off.
It’s way too easy to assume someone else is upset or too busy for us. It’s easy to assume somebody isn’t following Jesus. We tend to allow hurt and anger into our hearts and worse yet we allow it to go unchecked far too often. Sometimes without even realizing it, we pull away from friendships as a means to protect ourselves from the feelings we’re experiencing when we assume too much. Have you ever destroyed a perfectly good relationship due to an assumption?
It isn’t a stretch for an assumption to become the truth as we see it and recall it. I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. I have no doubt you have experienced this as well. If not, I’d like a lifetime subscription to the Utopian world you’re living within, because I was given an all-season pass to reality by the Almighty. I’m sure you’re familiar with the little ditty, “to assume makes an A$$ out of you and me?” That’s probably far more fitting than most realize.
I read the other day something along the lines of, “When an assumption rears it’s ugly head, simply take a moment to ask if this assumption is consistent with your friend’s normal behavior. If it isn’t, this would be a good time to ask a few more questions: Is my friend okay? Have I done anything to hurt her? How can I pray for him? Do I believe the best before assuming the worst?”
I believe that to be really good advice. Of course it doesn’t stop and start with assumptions about people. Scripture, the tales of Christ, which among us is a Christian or not, etc. all can be subjects of assumption. I really hope to not make a poor assumption about crucial things such as God. Can I assume the Pope is going to Heaven? I sincerely hope so, but I can’t assume it. Nor should I. Should I assume a life of good deeds is enough to get a ticket on the Heaven train? I’m set for disappointment if I assume that. You see where I’m going.
I have assumed in the past to the wrong conclusion. Thank you God for something I can correct in large part. All I need to do is give others the benefit of the doubt, be cautious in doing so, and most importantly seek Biblical and scripture based information. Then I don’t have to rely on my assumptions. After all, I’m prone to err and I’m flawed. Am I not?
An example of scripture regarding sound judgement can be found in 2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Be salt and light my friends…