JM's Journal: Don’t Make Assumptions

A woman standing outside praying in a mountain setting
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Don’t Make Assumptions

Learn to Listen More to Find All the Facts

by J.M. Troppello

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20, NKJV)

I was on the phone the other day with a family member who interrupted me when I was talking because this person thought they knew what I was going to say. They didn’t. This person had assumed too fast and flew off the handle for a second. I took a deep breath – not about to engage in a heated exchange – and said, “If you just listen to me and let me finish, you’ll get the full picture of what is going on.”

The person calmed down and listened to me finish my explanation. Their questions were answered by the time I had finished explaining. My explanation had only taken a minute or two. However, their impatience and continual misconceptions about an ongoing issue caused them to make assumptions.

I think this is a major problem in our culture today. People assume things too quickly. They don’t take the time to slow down and digest all the facts before making rash judgments—and then engage in reactionary behavior.

I admit that I used to be a hothead long ago. I’ve since overcome those negative and unproductive tendencies through the help of the Holy Spirit working in my life. Those changes came through hard work and discipline on my part and lots of studying of God’s Word and personal development to become a more emotionally mature adult.

Many adults today act like children.

It’s true. People are in one ‘political tribe’ or another. They’re taking sides on all types of issues. I’ve even seen many believers fly off the handle on social media all in the effort to make a point and win their argument. However, have they stopped to think that such behavior usually makes them destroyers rather than creators – and they are not being a good witness to unbelievers.

I’m preaching to myself here too. It would be so easy for me to get mad and get revenge on people. It’s easy to feed the fires of ignorance. It’s more difficult to change course and fuel creativity and encourage and inspire others. Choose the latter.

Choose your battles. Your sanity is worth more than challenging ignorant behavior.

According to the Thomas Nelson Study Bible (TNSB), “If a believer gets angry in difficult circumstances, the practical righteousness of God will not be evident in his or her life. When someone wrongs us, the natural reaction is to retaliate, at least verbally (see: James 1:19-20). But this response does not glorify God. Holding one’s tongue, trying to understand the other person’s position, and leaving vindication to God demonstrates godly love in tense situations” (see: Romans 12:17-21).

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
(Proverbs 15:23, NKJV)

You can build someone up with your words or you can destroy them with your words. The choice is yours each day. Do you tend to make assumptions about others?

Article syndicated by Mustard Seed Sentinel on


About the Author

JM Troppello at Mustard Seed Sentinel

J.M. Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.

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