I’ve been considering how assumptions can strain even the strongest of relationships. An assumption can compromise trust on both sides. An assumption often means choosing to believe the worst when we could have chosen to believe the best. An assumption is often the result of fear or insecurities, a self-protection mechanism. An assumption rarely makes things better. An assumption proclaims loudly that we know a person’s heart and have determined their intentions. An assumption can hurt the heart of those we claim to love and add insult to that injury.
How can we avoid the snares of wrong assumptions, faulty conclusions and unfair judgements?
#1 Don’t. Just don’t. When you are tempted, refuse to assume. Get the facts. Ask a question. Find clarification before you come to a conclusion.
#2 Give the benefit of the doubt. Choose to believe the best until the facts (not feelings) prove otherwise. Feelings are fickle.
#3 Remember the character of the person in question. Does this sound like them? Does it line up with what you have experienced with them before?
#4 Keep in mind your state of mind. Are you already aggravated with the other person, put out with them, have a bone to pick?
#5 Err on the side of mercy. Don’t be so quick to give them what they deserve. Justice knows how to locate them if justice is required.
#6 Say you are sorry. When you were wrong, admit it, don’t excuse it. Apologize and hope they are willing to apply mercy when you weren’t.
#7 Consider the consequences. How will your relationship change? Will it cost you dearly if you assume incorrectly?
#8 Avoid words like obviously, apparently, undoubtedly, clearly when determining the intentions of another person’s heart.
#9 Forgive. Offer do-overs and second chances. If you were right and they were as rotten as you imagined, keep in mind, we all make mistakes.
#10 Decide now and often that you will not lump people together. All men. All teens. All southerners. All politicians. Yes, even all politicians. Each person deserves the opportunity to prove themselves, make their own way and even their own mistakes.