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I sat next to a sister in Church yesterday.  A little boy came to pick up a hymn close to her and she scolded him, directing him to pick another one further from her. I asked her why she expected the little boy to know she had already picked that particular hymn. “Gumption should tell him that” she responded. She assumed he should know that the hymn closest to her is hers. How wrong she was!

Assumption is synonymous with presumption.  Depending on the circumstance, assumption can be a costly mistake. Even King David recognized this when he said in Psalm 19:13

Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.

Assumption can become sinful when it makes you violate God’s standards in any way. King Saul was sent on a mission by God to totally annihilate the Amalekites. God gave him victory but he came back with their king and the best of their sheep and cattle, assuming God will appreciate it as a sacrifice. He was damned. God punished him by taking the kingdom from him. The moral lesson here is this: don’t assume what befits God. Do exactly what he requires of you. Many Christian bodies today violate Christ’s doctrines, assuming they know what befits him. They establish doctrines and creed for themselves in obedience to their founders and (unknowingly) in disobedience to God. Though their intentions were pure, Christ promises to deny them on the last day (Mark 7:6-9, Matthew 7:21-23). Don’t think for anyone, including God. His thoughts are not yours.

Isaiah 55:8

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  -NIV

When you feel wronged by someone or you see a friend putting up a strange attitude, don’t be quick to assume the reason for their actions until you ask. Assumptions lead to great misunderstandings in relationships. So while you are at it, justifying your assumption and apportioning blames, you may be guilty of great transgression. My cousin once told me “don’t be angry yet until you hear him out.” Don’t be quick to think “what does he have to say? I already know what he did and why because he always does it.” You may just be very wrong.

I can’t say this enough; don’t think for people. What you see as something a right thinking person should know might just be the opposite of what that person calls ‘the right thing.’ Are you fuming around the house, punishing yourself with anger for someone else’s ignorance? You had better speak up. Always speak out what you want the other person to know. Never assume they already know. Always hear them out too; never assume you already know why. If you can’t tell them, then don’t be angry. Similarly, if you have not heard from them, don’t get angry. You can read on effective communication skills: Speaking in their language and listening to understand.

The sin of assumption also applies to leaders who assume their followers should have knowledge of certain things. They feel disappointed when team members do not measure up to their expected standards. They get irritated when they see members put up certain actions or when they hear members ask certain questions and they use harsh responses on them. “How can you ask such a childish question?” “You talk like a baby Christian.” “You never cease to disappoint me.” “We are not here to play, if you cannot conduct yourself this way, then leave.” A good leader meets people at their levels of understanding and gently brings them up. Don’t think for them.

Are you a teacher? Don’t assume your students understand a topic simply because you have taught the lesson. Get feedback. Do revisions. Assess them with classroom tests to measure their assimilation.

Are you a salesperson? Don’t give customers a bad attitude because you assume they should know the right way to behave.

Parents, listen to your children. Don’t assume you understand their situations simply because you were once a child. Tell them what they should know. Don’t just punish them for what you assume they already know.

Hello, dear husband or wife, don’t assume they are cheating just because of a text message you saw or a feminine accessory you found in his car. Talk to your partner first.

Don’t assume you know me, until you have a personal experience with me. If you make wrong assumptions about people that make you develop any form of bitterness towards them, God holds you accountable for the sin of assumption.

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One Comment

  1. I am sometimes guilty of this to be honest… Very insightful. Well done and more grace

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