We all do it, don’t we? We all make assumptions. Assumption is defined as, “A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof” (Oxford English Dictionary). From the dictionary of Rickie I would add, “and we treat our assumptions as absolutes.” We just know the thing we assume to be so is so. Our assumptions could not possibly be wrong.
Assumptions happen because of what we perceive to be so. Often there is incomplete information. A single piece of information or multiple pieces of information are missing. But of course, with our assumptions we know what is certain. Why did a person behave a certain way? Why did that person say what he said? We assume to know. Maybe we took someone else’s word and they told us not what is true but what they assume to be true. Did we take the time to investigate for ourselves? Maybe if we did we would find out what we were told was incorrect.
Assumptions take place because we jump to conclusions. We assume, then we act or speak. We just know we are right. Yet, again, something is missing. “Someone says, “I didn’t know.” True, but there was still a jump to a conclusion that was incorrect. Did we stop to ask ourselves, “Is what I think I know or see really true?” “I just know why that person did not like that song.” “I just know why that person said what he said to me.” “Why wasn’t I told? I know why. They don’t like me. My voice is not heard anymore.” ”I know why I wasn’t invited.” We jump to a conclusion and in all these. It may that the person about whom we made assumptions may not have even been thinking about me. Most people do not sit around thinking about how they can conspire against us. Most of the time people are consumed with what is at the point of their own noses. They are just trying to keep their own head above water. I read one time, “If we knew how little time people spent thinking about us we would be humiliated.”
Assumptions can also occur because we cannot hear. Therefore, we cannot process the information. Now sometimes that inability to hear is because we are so busy forming our assumption. We do not listen. We are already assuming we know. However, that inability to hear maybe due to poor hearing. I know an increasing number of people who have a hard time hearing. It is a real impairment for them. It is also tremendously frustrating for them. My heart really goes out to them. Because they do not hear well they do not receive the information to process it. So they assume without hearing. Hearing impairment is not their fault. However, being aware of hearing impairment might cause that one to stop and take the extra time to understand what they did not hear. The problem is they did not hear so they do not know they missed something. It is a vicious cycle. Therefore, we who speak need to beware of their impairment and be longsuffering with them. Don’t jump to a conclusion about them.
Assumptions. We all make them. They are frustrating. It is frustrating to make an assumption only to learn different. Maybe James’ advice is helpful, “Be swift to hear and slow to speak.” Maybe an adaption of Paul’s advice to Timothy is helpful too. “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” That might be adapted to be, “Make assumption about no man suddenly.”