As Ron and I work with couples, we find that presumption is one of the main killers in marriage relationships and other personal and business relationships, as well. Presumption is the silent killer.
“Through presumption comes nothing but strife, But with those who receive counsel is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10 (NAS)
What is presumption?
- to suppose to be true without proof
- to expect or assume
Synonyms: assume, imagine, guess, speculate, suppose, surmise, suspect, suspicion, theorize, believe, judge, think, decide.
Another word for Presumption is Judgment – to arbitrate – to make the final decision like a judge.
However, God tells us in His Word, that “through presumption comes nothing but strife!”
This is what Ron and I hear all the time;
- I feel like he/she did it on purpose
- I feel like he/she meant to hurt me
- I feel he/she is picking a fight
- I feel he/she doesn’t care; or doesn’t love me
- I feel they purposely sabotaged this process, or business, etc.
Did you hear the repetitive words used in each sentence? “I feel.” This is where people get stuck, because they share “Well, I can’t help what I feel.” They feel very justified in their “feelings.” However, presumption or judgment is not a feeling but a thought, an opinion that is not based on all the facts.
Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle? They’re fun, aren’t they? But pending on how many pieces of the puzzle it contains, it can be very frustrating – especially if you don’t have the picture cover of the box to be able to see the whole picture first.
Let’s say you have this type of jigsaw puzzle with no picture cover, and you are almost done completing the puzzle. You start breathing a sigh of relief as you see fewer and fewer single pieces on the table to be connected to your puzzle. Then you are down to your last one but notice you have several puzzle pieces that are missing. Unfortunately, the pieces that are missing are what you need to get a clear understanding of the picture you are making.
That is exactly like presumption. When someone judges by presuming, they are judging in one or two ways – They judge…
- Someone else’s motives: They conclude that they have the whole picture and determine that because of the actions they see in that person, their heart must have bad intentions of why they behaved the way they did. In other words, presumption is the ‘why’ of the action.
- Someone else’s character: They commit character assignation and presume the other person is stupid, or naïve, ignorant, etc.
Have you ever been judged on you motive and intentions? Isn’t it frustrating? How do you defend your heart, your motives? How do you prove that you are innocent and they are wrong and you are right? Can you take your heart out, open the door of your heart and prove it in black and white that they are wrong??? You can’t. Do you have documented proof of what’s in your heart?
Then what happens is you end up wasting precious time by trying to defend your motives, and the issue that you’re judged over never gets resolved! Presumption can be suicide to a relationship. We call that ASSUMICIDE!
We have seen the damage that presumption has on marriages. Presumption gives a wide open door for the enemy’s invasion because the “Enemy roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour,” 1Peter 5:8 because of the person’s vulnerability. The enemy will feed the mind of its prey with lies to which the person begins to believe, because “the enemy is a liar and the Father of Lies” John 8:44. Wounds become deeper and deeper and imaginations run amuck. Trust becomes broken in any type of relationship when presumption prevails.
So, why is Presumption the silent killer of relationships? Let’s walk through the Progression of an Idol based on James 4:1-3:
- Judgment (presume)
As the progression of an idol unfolds, it becomes a slippery slide. When judgment-presumption starts to rule all hearts, we can stuff our thoughts or move down the slippery slide into punishment.
Whether we slide immediately down to punishment, or stuff our judgmental thoughts for another turn on the slippery slide, unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment take root. When it takes root, actions of punishment will soon to follow. Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble and by it many are defiled.” Our actions can cause a lot of damage, because of the condition of our hearts.
What is the cure for presumptuous and judgmental thoughts towards someone? CONFESSION!
The 7 A’s of confession are taken from The Peacemaker: The Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, by Ken Sande.
- Confess your sin of presumption to God
- If your presumption or judgment, turns into punishment, confess your sin to the other person as well, using the 7A’s of confession;
- Address everyone involved.
- Avoid if, but, maybe and I’ll add however and perhaps – using these words completely invalidates your apology by putting the blame on the other person. “If you wouldn’t have done “xyz” I wouldn’t have judged and then punished you.” Avoiding those words will place 100% responsibility and blame on you, not on the other person.”
- Admit specifically – no specifics means you don’t know what you did and will probably do it again.
- Acknowledge the hurt – this is an empathy acknowledgment of how the judgment and punishment affected them. At this time it is important for the one sinned against to have an opportunity to express how it made them feel and for the sinner to understand how it impacted them.
- Accept the consequences – this consequence usually means a break in trust.
- Altar your behavior – is another form of repentance. It’s a plan to alter your behavior. A confession without a plan is not true repentance. Practice charitable judgment to give grace and presume the person’s motives and intent were positive instead of negative.
- Ask for forgiveness – at this point, you are now empowering the other person to make a decision whether they will forgive you or not. It is now in their court to forgive.
Do yourself a favor… put to death the Silent Killer of presumption and judgment from your heart before it eats away at your soul, by practicing charitable judgment of always thinking the best about someone, unless you have facts to prove otherwise. You will experience “the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7)” when you can unload the sin of presumption and replace it with peace. From Presumption to Peace… now that’s the way to live!
And when you live this way, you will not only serve yourself, but serve others, and Glorify God in the process.
Written by KC Dierenfield