Beware of Assumptions
Assumptions are dangerous. Assumptions are more often inaccurate than accurate. We are never qualified to make assumptions. Too often they are made by emotions than reason.
We play all kinds of games. Most love the power game. Here is how it works.
Here are some ground rules for starting. Find someone who is different. He or she may look different, sound different, or think different. It works well if the person holds to different opinions and/or reacts in a different way than the “acceptable manner,” which differs from your group. This game is especially effective if someone has a mark on his or her past record that your group considers worth discussing, even if it is over and done with, fully forgiven, and none of your business, which is true over 95% of the time.
Here is how we play “Let’s Label.” It involves six steps:
- Find something we do not like about the person. Not hard since most people are much more demanding of others than of themselves.
- Examine the externals. We must do this since there is no way to know the “internals.”
- Form negative and critical opinions.
- Jump to several inaccurate conclusions. This follows naturally because there is always an inability to know all the facts.
- Mentally stick a label on the person in question. That saves time… keeps us from having to verify all the details.
- Freely share all findings and identifying labels with others … so everyone can “pray more intelligently.”
What is so bad about being harsh, critical, or hypocritical? Five things come to mind:
- We are never qualified.
- We never know all the facts. When people have the spiritual "plank in eye" syndrome, they lose all sense of perspective. They become blinded. It happens so easily.
- We never are able to read another’s motive.
- We are prejudiced people, never completely objective. We become blinded by prejudice__preconceived notions about old folks, young folks, or folks who look like ________ or dress like _______ or work at ________. We become blinded by personality, wanting to saddle up to this person or that family, or avoid them because they’re like ______.
- We put ourselves in a position we are not qualified to fill; namely, we play God.
We become blinded by probably the biggest "P" word: Power. I remain convinced that most of the splits in the Lord’s church and most of the conflict that continues today has very little to do with truth or practice and very much to do with power. Control.
Most of us are so unaware of these things, so we overlook our limitations. We think we know more than we do, hence our judging continues out of habit. Because of this we jump to false conclusions.
Beware of assumptions. They are just that, assumptions. Ask, “Do I know all the facts?” “Do I know the context?” “Do I know the tone?” “Is my prejudice driving my assumptions?” “Is this really personal?” “Does this merit a response or mercy?” “Am I practicing or about to practice the Golden Rule?” “Does my assumption make me more like Jesus?”