Making Assumptions


For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple.
(Acts 21:29 NASB)
Then all the city was provoked, and the people rushed together, and taking hold of Paul they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut.
(Acts 21:30 NASB)


The Jews in Jerusalem were determined that they were going to catch Paul doing something wrong. They were so determined that they wanted to believe any bit of gossip which they heard. Not only did they want to believe the gossip, but they were even ready to create that gossip by making assumptions about Paul's behavior. They didn't know Paul personally, they didn't want to get to know Paul personally, but rather, they wanted to assume that he really was the no good man that they thought that he was. So, although Paul's Greek friend, Trophimus had not gone to the Temple, they were just sure that Paul had brought him and defiled the temple. This assumption and gossip led again to a mob mentality. No one would listen to the truth, they had made up their minds what kind of a man Paul was.


How often may we, as Christians, be guilt of character assassination simply by virtue of assumption? In Paul's case it wasn't just character assassination but they wanted a real assassination! However, I know that there are times that we look at someone doing something, or having said or written something, and we make assumptions about who they are and what their "real" motivation is in life. If we go to the extreme of these "religious" folks, a persons life can be destroyed. I think that so often it is easy to forget the destructive power of words.
If we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ, let us not follow the crowd and never make assumptions about people. Take the time to truly get to know people and to listen to their heart and to their passion. We will usually discover that all of our assumptions were so very wrong. Jesus took time to hang out with the "sinners." The "religious" folks had assumptions about Jesus because of this, but in the end, the "sinners" were set free and God was glorified.


Lord, please help me to have the patience to get to know people and their passion. Amen.


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