Danger of Assuming the Worst

November 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

Today, in my devotions, I read about the time when David sent a delegation of men to express his sympathy to Hanun–the Ammonite–concerning the death of his father.

Hanun’s father had been kind to David, so David decided to return the favor.

When David’s men arrived, Hanun’s nobles said, “Do you think David is honoring your father by sending men to you to express sympathy? Hasn’t David sent them to you to explore the city and spy it out and overthrow it?” (2 Sam. 10:3)

Convinced by his nobles that David’s intentions were heinous, Hanun seized David’s men, cut off half of each man’s beard, cut off their robes in the middle of their buttocks, and then sent them on their way.  This was all done to humiliate David’s men.

Hanun’s nobles had assumed the worst.

Bad idea.

When David found out about it he sent his army to avenge his men.  Space won’t permit me to get into all of the details here, but let me just say that David’s army killed 700 charioteers and 40,000 soldiers. 

And it all started when Hanun’s nobles assumed the worst about David.

Have you ever done that?  Have you ever assumed the worst only to find out that you were completely wrong?

I have.

As a Lead Minister I’m constantly dealing with people.  This event reminded me that bad things can happen when we assume the worst of people and–in the church–these bad things can result in a lot of unnecessary pain.

What should we assume of others to keep from assuming the worst?  Until proven otherwise, we should assume that the people with whom we are dealing . . .

  1. Are sinners in need of grace–just like us, so they aren’t perfect–just like us.
  2. Want things to work well.
  3. Are not bad people who want to do bad things, but good people who want to do good things.
  4. Are not trying to micro-manage us, but to share an opinion that they think will be helpful.
  5. Are not trying to make life more difficult, but trying to make life more enjoyable.
  6. May have the same insecurities we have.
  7. May want to feel needed just as much as we do.
  8. Have wisdom and unique life experiences that may make what we are trying to accomplish much easier to accomplish and much better once it is accomplished.
  9. Have no agenda, other than to be helpful.
  10. Are not trying to attack us, but to bless us.

Just a few things to think about before we attack the next delegation that comes our way.


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