by Barbara Latta
Assuming we know the motive behind someone’s actions can lead to dangerous judgments. Whether it is in marital relationships, friendships, or business connections, we can traverse into dangerous territory when we don’t gather all the facts before forming opinions.
We can learn a valuable lesson about how assumptions can hurt relationships from an incident that happened when the Israelites settled in the Promised Land.
After 40 years of wilderness wandering, they were finally there. They had fought against enemies, taken over lands, destroyed idol worship, and watched God perform miracles. Their war-weary bodies were ready to enjoy the provisions the land provided. They wanted to enjoy peace.
But as human nature does, discord raised its ugly head. Fingers pointed at a construction project at the river boundary. Tongues wagged, speculation abounded, and the weapons that had been put away were brought out and sharpened again.
Now the children of Israel heard someone say, “Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan—on the children of Israel’s side.” (Joshua 22:11 NKJV)
A squabble started because of dangerous hearsay.
Pointed fingers were based on a perceived intention. Imaginations grew so much that violence was planned against their fellow countrymen (v.12). Someone saw an altar and assumed it was for sacrifices. Sacrifices were only to be offered in the place designated by the Lord Almighty.
What treachery is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that you have built for yourselves an altar, that you might rebel this day against the Lord? (Joshua 22:16)
The accusers sent Phinehas, the priest, along with some representatives, to discover the meaning of what Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had done. Which is what should have been at the top of the agenda, not plans of attack.
After inquiries, it was discovered the stone monument was built as a witness for future generations. The three tribes on the east side of the Jordan River didn’t want their descendants to be cut off because of the boundaries. They were declaring a memorial between themselves and the rest of the country. They were not building an altar for sacrificial offerings.
The war mongers found out the pile of rocks they considered a breach against God was actually something complementary toward them from their brothers. A split among the Israelites was averted by the quick actions of Phinehas the priest.
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. (Luke 6:37)
It is easy to jump to conclusions when we hear or see something we don’t agree with. Our minds conceive the part we want to believe, and unless we take the time to discover intent, we can react rashly as the insulted groups did. Division almost resulted among Jehovah’s newly established lands due to judging others.
And the battle of words sometimes breeds harm in Christ’s body today. Unfortunately, this is how church division and dissolved relationships can occur. And when unbelievers see Christians reacting in ungodly ways, the witness of the gospel is harmed.
He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him. (Proverbs 18:13)
The longer assumptions are left unchecked, the stronger the roots grow. We can navigate this curve on our sometimes rocky road in life when we follow biblical guidelines against impulsive thoughts and use wisdom,. We are then able to discern the heart of situations.
Peace comes to those who through patience and prayer seek the Lord for counsel rather than leaning to our own understanding. In this way, judgmental actions can stop before disaster strikes.
What are your thoughts? Please feel free to join the conversation.
Assuming we know the motive behind someone’s actions can lead to dangerous judgments. Whether it is in marital relationships, friendships, or business connections, we can traverse into dangerous territory when we don’t gather all the facts before forming opinions (click to tweet)
It is easy to jump to conclusions when we hear or see something we don’t agree with. Our minds conceive the part we want to believe, and unless we take the time to discover intent, we can react rashly. (click to tweet)
You definitely describe scenarios and outcomes here well and I know by experience! Thanks for offering wise Bublical counsel to check and avoid.ReplyDelete
I think a lot of us have, unfortunately, had some of these experiences. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Blessings!Delete
As ashamed as I am to admit it, I'm one of those who once I form an opinion, I pretty much shutdown and don't care to consider further evidence. There's times in the past though where I've proven my intuition, my "gut feel" wrong about people and events. Do I still depend on that intuition? Yes. But these days, I try to put a pause in between what my heart and mind tells me by taking it to God in prayer. If the Holy Spirit encourages me to continue listening and learning, I try my best to do so. If I see "flashing red lights and stop signs", I consider that evidence that my discernment is tracking correctly and I move on. This helps me from saying or doing things I shouldn't. Proverbs tells us to be slow to anger and to not act rashly. Still trying to learn to do that more. :-) Great post Ms. Barbara. Thank you ma'am.ReplyDelete
J.D. you are exhibiting the correct way to handle feelings about situations when you pause and take it to God in prayer. He gives us His Word and that inner voice from Him to show us if there are those red lights and stop signs or whether we need to move forward. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete
Assumption is a dangerous place to go in any relationship. I know I need to check myself or apologize later when I assume. I'm with JD. Great post!ReplyDelete
Nancy, we all need to pause and listen to the Spirit before we make hasty judgments. J.D. did share some wisdom for us. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete
Barbara, your message is one of wisdom and encouragement for us not to jump to conclusions. What a great example from scripture to remind us to investigate before we make conclusions that can lead us to act rashly. When we make assumptions without gathering all the facts, we usually get ourselves in trouble and cause problems within our relationships. Thank you for this great message.ReplyDelete
Katherine, we do get ourselves in trouble when we act hastily. Our best reaction is to investigate the facts like you mentioned. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete
I'm guilty of making assumptions. I recently wrote about impartiality and was convicted of the wrongness of some of my attitudes and assumptions when it comes to those who don't think or vote like me. I was led to try to view all others in terms of our likenesses rather than our differences. Great lesson here!ReplyDelete
Candyce, I think we all fall for the trap of making assumptions before we have all the facts sometimes. Thankfully, the more we dwell in the Word of God, the more we are sensitive to His voice and we can be brought back to the right attitude quickly. The wisdom you received to view others in terms of our likenesses rather than our differences displays a way to extend kindness. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete
Barbara, I love how you didn't just tell us how harmful assumptions can be but you took us to God's Word and showed us. Thank you for the needed reminder!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing. I needed the reminder myself when I read this story in the Bible. Blessings!Delete
I have been guilty of this too. Thanks for sharing all the Biblical truths to help us BarbaraReplyDelete
Yvonne, I am also guilty but we can be thankful God shows us these lessons in His Word. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings!Delete
How easy it is to jump to conclusions, and for some reason (hmmm, I wonder . . .) they're usually negative. You found a great example in the Bible to demonstrate your point and offered a takeaway worthy of consideration.ReplyDelete
Annie, you shared an interesting perspective. Why do we jump to conclusions in the negative? Thanks for sharing this insight. Blessings!Delete
Such a clear warning. Think of what would have happened if they hadn't found out the truth. How sad and scary this happens all the time. And some intentionally foster it.ReplyDelete
It is sad that some people do intentionally foster judging others. And the sad outcome would have generated a different story in the Bible had the incident not been corrected. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete
I find myself assuming way too often. My husband always reminds me assuming will get you in trouble. Thank you for the much needed reminder.ReplyDelete
Jennifer, I can also do the same thing. I think that is why this story in the Bible stood out to me so much. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!Delete