You’ve heard the saying “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me”? It’s true, but it’s human behavior. How do we not do something that is such an easy poor behavior to exercise?
Proverbs 25:8 MSG says: “Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”
We do it all the time, this assuming thing, whether for innocent or not so innocent situations. We assume that when we’re hungry and craving the last half of those yummy leftovers that should be in the refrigerator, that said yummy leftovers will actually be in the refrigerator. But then there is evidence of a teenager tornado.
We assume that a text message our significant other doesn’t want to check in front of us is suspicious, when in fact her hands were dirty and she didn’t want to touch the phone yet, or he was expecting an important call and wasn’t going to let anything distract him.
We assume that Sir Barks-a-lot next door will eventually get a sore throat and stop barking, or that his owner will hear him waking up the neighborhood at 4AM and let him inside the house, but no.
We assume that the sliding doors at the store will open magically as we approach them to walk through them, not into them, like in the funny Star Trek outtakes.
We assume our air conditioning units won’t die on us in the middle of a Texas summer (because aren’t they built strong enough to withstand this inferno??).
We assume helping our kids with their math homework will be a breeze because we went through it already. Is math what they’re calling the stuff they bring home these days?
We assume if the milk is spilled, that the child standing in front of it is the culprit. Not always the case…
Making assumptions is not always a bad thing, like when law enforcement assumes that any situation they are walking into could be dangerous. Even though they are always careful, a little extra caution never hurt anybody.
Assuming is normal. We should, however, temper those assumptions with any previous experiences we may have had, or gut feelings we get. One thing we should not do is jump to any wrong conclusions based on an assumption that has not been checked out for facts yet. That can get somebody in trouble and damage a trusting relationship.
Sometimes a doubt is planted based on incomplete information, and that leads to an assumption based on insecurity, and that is harmful. The enemy manifests in many ways in our lives; sometimes it is with “a doubt”. It seems too simple for somebody to fall for a little doubt, and yet it happens all the time.
Thankfully, we have the weapon: Luke 10:19 says “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
One of my favorite columnists, Dave Barry, said: “What happens if a big asteroid hits Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad.”
Hopefully it doesn’t take us that much, er, research to remind us to assume carefully, but at least we’ll be prepared when an asteroid hits.