Presuming things. Making assumptions. Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of this. Some call it “jumping to conclusions” (which, as it has been noted, can be a very painful exercise); others, “reaching a verdict without a trial.” This usually happens when we venture to guess another person’s motives or judge a person’s life without having all the facts. The danger of this is that we can be certain of our conclusion, then find we have missed the truth by the proverbial mile.
Assuming things causes us to “know” before actually having information. Solomon, by divine inspiration, wrote, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame” (Prov. 18:13). That applies to poor listeners in a conversation, but also faulty perception about one’s circumstances. It is a biblical principle to be certain of a situation before ever uttering a word about it. Think of how foolish it is to pass judgment without a full hearing!
Presumption also causes us to have boldness without a true foundation. In 2 Peter 2:10, Peter refers to certain unrighteous people, saying, “Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.” They fearlessly and recklessly speak against others, even those in authority, based on personal opinions they confuse with the truth (here is the idea of “self-willed” or “arrogant.”) They rant and rave about the object of their fury based on preconceived notions that they will not clutter up with the actual truth.
Furthermore, jumping to conclusions causes us to sin without restriction. This is why David prayed, “Also keep back your servant from presumptuous sins” (Psalm 19:13). It is a prayer for self-control against willful sinning. He is speaking of this same arrogant spirit, using a word which is translated elsewhere as “proud.” Willfully entering into sin hardens the heart, including saying something against somebody which we are certain we do not know with certainty is true.
It is so easy to convince ourselves that we know what is driving people or what has landed them in their present circumstances. Job’s friends got into a lot of trouble because they unrighteously judged Job (John 7:24). Let’s learn from their error and not make the same mistake.