In 2020, we have seen just how fragile life is, how dark the world can be and how loving one another really does matter. One thing that often holds us back from loving one another is the use of assumptions.
The truth is, we all make assumptions about others. Some are small and some are not. Each of us see the world through a particular lens, which then overflows into our interactions with people. We often think that our opinions and biases should be placed on other people – that there is only one way to see things.
Something I have tried (and failed many times) to grow in lately is the importance of doing my own research before making assumptions or statements about others. The combination of doing the research and staying humble will go a long ways. This requires hard work and discipline, but is well worth it!
The media and news often sends a message that grabs our attention, but may not be true. Before we know it, we’ve believed in things that aren’t actually true and factual.
So, how can we try to avoid assumptions?
Here are some things that I think we should try to keep in mind:
- We really don’t know what people are thinking.
I wish I could read other people’s minds, but I just can’t! We often immediately go to worse case scenario – I know I have. It can be tricky when you are in a conversation with someone and their facial expressions don’t match the words coming out of their mouth. When this happens, I usually start to become paranoid, assuming that they are thinking the worst about me or the situation. I start to think that their motives are not good, but that’s often not true. We all have different personalities, which factors into the way we communicate.
- We really don’t know what people have been through and are going through.
There is usually a lot more going on than we know. In order for us to remember this though, we actually have to have a legitimate conversation with someone. This requires us being intentional – making time, space and effort. I’ve been amazed at the amount of times someone has proved me wrong after I had a personal conversation with them. Sometimes, they may really be hurting and reacting out of pain. Sometimes, they could just be being a jerk to you for no good reason. But other times, none of that is true! Let’s remember that everyone has a story and personal experiences just like we do. There are often many factors to consider.
- We aren’t always right!
Humility.. We have to be okay other people being right sometimes. We must be humble and admit when we are wrong. That’s it!
There’s a lot of Scripture that could help us in this area, but the first one I thought of was James 1:19-21:
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Think before you speak! As I write this blog, it’s election season and soon we will know who is President. Let’s try to keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s do our research and love one another.
Jeremiah 17 teaches us that our hearts are deceitful and wicked apart from Christ. We are ALL sinners in need of God’s grace. We should check our own hearts and work on ourselves before we try to fix everyone else.
One way to do this is to avoid assumptions and have more genuine, loving conversations. Jesus, help us in this!
*A recent resource that helped me is this teaching from Randy Alcorn. I know it will help you, too.
When Christians disagree about Beliefs & Actions: