Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.”
The definition for ‘assumption’ is something taken for granted, or accepted as true without proof. How often we make assumptions without even being aware of them. When we have an argument over something it might actually be because we have different assumptions. If we understood one another’s assumptions then we might understand why we disagree and why we may be wrong.
In one sense we need to have a healthy sense of ‘suspicion’ of everybody, including ourselves. I do not believe that anyone can be completely objective. Along with assumptions we need discernment. A.W.Tozer said: “Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely one is of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.”
Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn on recognizing bad reasoning give three suggestions on how to be objective.
- Listen. Every time we listen to someone else’s viewpoint, we give ourselves the opportunity to become un- deceived.
- Evaluate our assumptions. It is important to recognize that everyone has a bias, and that we need to understand and to manage our own biases. We need to be aware of the assumptions which we are making. Keep asking, “why do I think this is true?” There is nothing wrong with having assumptions, just as long as we have the correct assumptions.
- Evaluate other people’s assumptions. We should be alert for clues in what people say which may indicate their assumptions. This will give us insight into why they believe what they believe.
In the midst of a debate or argument it is easy to make assumptions that something is correct when in reality it is not. Something might be presented to us in an either-or situation when in reality there might be a third, or even a fourth option.
Most of the arguments within families are due to, I believe, wrong assumptions. We presume or assume something that is not true as far as the other person is concerned, in either what they say or what we think that they should do.
In studying and writing about these different fallacies the one thing that is coming to me is the reality of knowing the Word of God and applying it to my life, my walk and my talk. Proverbs tells us: “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”