The cost of assumptions

A few days ago I heard an interesting statement. It was from a man who was explaining his story on how he came to believe what he believes. He was not a Christian. He now considers himself to be an atheist. There was one very telling statement when he explained his history though. He said, “I grew up in an area where everyone just assumed you were a Christian.” And that ladies and gentleman is where our post for the day begins.

Imagine a man who is going to build a house. He draws up the blueprints and calculates all of the measurements before cutting anything. He then goes to the material he is going to cut and measures it a couple of times before he cuts. The final result is a house that looks great, and is exactly what it was set out to be. Now imagine if the man had made assumptions. “If I cut here it is probably the right length that I need.” The result will likely become a mess and only a shadow of what it was set out to be.

Assumptions make things fall through the cracks. Making assumptions about building a house makes details about the house fall through the cracks. Making assumptions about people makes people fall through the cracks. Sadly, there are people all around us that fall through the cracks every day.

I hear it all the time, “Why should I be so concerned about sharing the gospel? Everyone around here already knows it.” Do they though? Do they really know the gospel that you and I know? Do they understand the gospel that truly exists, or do they understand an incorrect gospel that was either presented to them years ago, or that they misunderstood?

Sometimes we assume people are Christians because we grew up around Christianity. It is almost hard to believe that people around us are not Christian. That is something that you find in other countries or in really corrupt places of America. We assume that people are saved when they attend a church, and yet I have known plenty of people in a church that will voluntarily give out the information that they are not Christians.

The confusion comes in when we have allowed superficial actions to dictate our opinion on whether or not someone is saved. For instance, I went to a Christian college. People always assumed that everyone who went there was a Christian, but every year I knew others on my dorm that were not only not Christians, but actively lived a life opposite of a Christian. Going to a Christian college did not mean they were a Christian. Growing up in a heavily Christian town does not automatically mean you are a Christian. Circumstances in environment do not dictate whether or not someone is saved.

Assumptions can be costly. Assumptions let people fall through the cracks. I was grateful that everyone I knew growing up did not merely make an assumption about me. People try and figure out why so many young people leave church and the faith itself following graduation and never return. I think there are actually multiple factors for this because people are individuals, and individuals are simply different.

However, I do believe there is one underlying connection with all of them. They had all been victims of assumptions. It was the assumption that they are just going through a phase and will work it out. It was the assumption that they must surely be Christians since they grew up in the church. It was the assumption that they had heard the gospel often enough that they must understand it by now. No matter what reason the youth leave the church in droves you can almost always lay the underlying issue for that reason on assumptions being placed on them.

What if we stopped assuming? What if we stopped assuming that people in the church understand how to deal with issues of creation and evolution, and instead we started confronting those issues? What if we stopped assuming that people in our community and school understand the gospel and started explaining the gospel? What if we stopped assuming people understood Christians and started interacting with them as though this was the first time they would ever experience love and compassion from someone. What if we stopped assuming that people lived in a fairly healthy family environment and started trying to understand the individual’s background?

What if we stopped assuming people were a statistic and all the same, and started treating and interacting with them as an individual instead? If we started carrying this kind of life out then we would not have to assume lives would change; we would know they would.

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