“I just assumed that…” That phrase has probably caused more problems in our lives than anything else. Husbands and wives have too often assumed things about each others’ actions or comments; so have employers and employees; so have parents and children; so have fellow Christians. Making assumptions has affected everyone at one time or another. And the results are usually predictable: problems, arguments, and tension.
There may be times when a person can rightfully assume something, but usually it is not a wise thing to do. The main problem with making assumptions is that you do not know something based on fact, but rather based on what you THINK you know. So what often happens is that these assumptions are not founded on a solid basis. In essence, when an assumption is made, you have to believe you know someone’s thoughts or intentions. Now Paul makes a clear point in I Corinthians 2:11 where he says, “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him?” How can you tell what someone’s thoughts or intentions are without that person verbalizing such thoughts? You cannot!
So many times when we do make an assumption, it is concerning what someone has said or done. Then we usually think the worst of what was said or done. For example, someone offers you a compliment, but you think to yourself, “I wonder what he wants now?!” Some people seem to be highly suspicious of everyone else, always trying to find something offensive in what they say. Should that be the thought process of a Christian? According to I Corinthians 13:5, love “…thinks no evil.” If we love one another as we should, we will always think the best of others’ words and deeds. If a person does or says something questionable, we give that person the “benefit-of-the-doubt”, until further investigation can clear the matter. Why must we always “read between the lines”, trying to see something that is not really there? The Ecclesiastical writer in 7:21 says, “Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.” He basically says what Paul says in I Cor. 13:5; think the best of others, not the worst!
Certainly there are times when a person’s tone of voice, or gestures override what he says, but even then we must exercise extreme caution about making any assumptions. The fewer assumptions we make, the fewer webs we will find ourselves there entangled! Some of the most heinous of sins have been the result of an assumption. Take King Saul for example, in I Samuel 13, where he unlawfully offered a sacrifice. Basically, his response to this sin was, “I though it would be all right…” So many people have assumed that what they are doing “for God”, though not found in His Word, is all right too. But they have forgotten Paul’s words in I Corinthians 2:11, “…Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” It has been said that “the path to hell is paved with good intentions”, but I believe we could add, “and the path’s handrail is made out of assumptions.” May we all be aware of that ever-dangerous assumption!