The longer I live on this earth, the more I’m learning from observing in humans like myself. We have all taken on a greater sin that prevents real communication with each other. That sin is assuming. We assume what others are thinking and judge people by what we think they are thinking.
Stay with me, it gets worse. We spend a good amount of time assuming what our family, friends and frienemies (friends who aren’t really friends and are considered enemies), are thinking while preparing scenarios of rebuttals of what we will say back to them before they say what we think they will say to us. Confused? Keep reading. To go farther in this sin of assumption, we actually do unto others BEFORE they do it to us! We are assuming this is God’s way—no, it’s not.
The story of God through Abraham proves that assuming leads to thoughts and actions of fear which leads to deception, which results in hurting everyone caught up in the lie. God intervenes and corrects the paths of those who believe in Him. And we are glad He does!
Genesis 20, The Message
1-2 Abraham traveled from there south to the Negev and settled down between Kadesh and Shur. While he was camping in Gerar, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She’s my sister.”
2-3 So Abimelech, king of Gerar, sent for Sarah and took her. But God came to Abimelech in a dream that night and told him, “You’re as good as dead—that woman you took, she’s a married woman.”
4-5 Now Abimelech had not yet slept with her, hadn’t so much as touched her. He said, “Master, would you kill an innocent man? Didn’t he tell me, ‘She’s my sister’? And didn’t she herself say, ‘He’s my brother’? I had no idea I was doing anything wrong when I did this.”
6-7 God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know your intentions were pure, that’s why I kept you from sinning against me; I was the one who kept you from going to bed with her. So now give the man’s wife back to him. He’s a prophet and will pray for you—pray for your life. If you don’t give her back, know that it’s certain death both for you and everyone in your family.”
8-9 Abimelech was up first thing in the morning. He called all his house servants together and told them the whole story. They were shocked. Then Abimelech called in Abraham and said, “What have you done to us? What have I ever done to you that you would bring on me and my kingdom this huge offense? What you’ve done to me ought never to have been done.”
10 Abimelech went on to Abraham, “Whatever were you thinking of when you did this thing?”
11-13 Abraham said, “I just assumed that there was no fear of God in this place and that they’d kill me to get my wife. Besides, the truth is that she is my half sister; she’s my father’s daughter but not my mother’s. When God sent me out as a wanderer from my father’s home, I told her, ‘Do me a favor; wherever we go, tell people that I’m your brother.’”
14-15 Then Abimelech gave Sarah back to Abraham, and along with her sent sheep and cattle and servants, both male and female. He said, “My land is open to you; live wherever you wish.”
16 And to Sarah he said, “I’ve given your brother a thousand pieces of silver—that clears you of even a shadow of suspicion before the eyes of the world. You’re vindicated.”
17-18 Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his maidservants, and they started having babies again. For God had shut down every womb in Abimelech’s household on account of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Of the “Big Ten” commandments God will give to Moses later, one of them is, “Thou shalt not lie, bear false witness against your neighbor”. (KJV, it’s how I memorized them as a kid) Maybe we need bullet points under the command statement of “Don’t lie” to make it even more clear today. It might look like this:
- Don’t lie about your neighbor
- Don’t assume you know your neighbor
- Don’t presume the actions of your neighbor
- Talk with your neighbor, get to know your neigbor, come to agreement with your neighbor
- Listen to what your neighbor has to say without thinking about how you will respond.
- Really listen. Learn to assume nothing.
And who are our neighbors? Jesus, the One and Only who knows our hearts, the ONLY one with the power to assume, knew we would ask. So, Jesus explains who are neighbors are in story form so we will understand. See Luke 10:25-37. Jesus ends His story with “Go and do likewise.”
Assuming is just another way to judge each other. Jesus said, “Judge not.”
The sin of assuming takes our thoughts captive for an unhealthy amount of time, robbing us of the joy of the Lord in us. What we think rarely happens, so why spend time thinking on it?
A byproduct of our lack of assumption is peace—Buckets of peace and oodles of joy-filled living.
Help us to rid ourselves of the sin of assuming that lies on the surface of our thinking. Help us to think like you taught Paul and he passed on to the church at Philippi, “filling our minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Guide my thinking on these things instead of assuming. Yes, help me to think more and more like you so I will love others like you love me.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen