Tuesday, April 5, 2011
It is a well-known definition of what “assume” means. By breaking down the word into three separate words, the definition emerges. Assumptions in relationships are deadly. Why you ask? Assumptions arise based on circumstances, verbalization of others, my interpretation of what a person said or did in the situation, etc. In many cases it may be very clear at that point what the person was saying or what the person meant. The problem comes when we take that assumption into the future without checking out whether what we believed in the past is still true in the present.
George Bernard Shaw, an English playwright, said this, “The only person who acts sensibly is my tailor. He takes new measurements of me every time he sees me, while everyone else take the old measurements, expecting them to fit me.” Assumptions become deadly when we don’t check out with those we have made the assumption about whether they have changed since we took the measurements. Knowledge can change a person’s perspective. Circumstances can change that perspective. Changes in attitude or physical life can change one’s perspective too. If we don’t check out the present perspectives, we can create all kinds of problems.
In my reading this morning, a prime example of wrong assumptions surfaced. In I Chronicles 19, Nahash, king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. David wanted to show kindness to Hanun because his father had shown kindness to him. David sent envoys of food and supplies to Hanun to express his sympathy for the death of his father. Hunan made the assumption that David was coming down to check out the situation so that he could come down and attack the Ammonites. Rather than thanking the envoy or checking out why they came down, he took the men, shaved off their beards, cut their clothes off at the buttocks, and sent them back. As you read on what ensued was a war that killed tens of thousands of soldiers. This war never have had to happen, had Hunan checked out his assumption and not acted on his assumption. Assumptions can be deadly.
On this journey, there will be plenty of assumptions. These assumptions can explode in your face if you don’t check them out. Simple questions can change the course of your journey with the Lord and with others.