Assuming Is A Bad Idea

Assuming Is A Bad Idea
By Steve Smith

When my Dad taught me how to drive a semi he said, “Don’t assume that everyone else is going to drive like you. Instead, picture them doing the most dangerous thing possible and at least then you have a chance.” That was and still is great advice. 39 years later I never forgot those words and they have made me a better driver for hearing and remembering them.

Think of what could have happened to me and others if my Dad just assumed I would catch on to driving a semi without those words of wisdom? How many people could that have put in danger? On the flip side, because he did train me properly, he prevented innumerable issues.

Before eating on Easter Sunday, my brother in law Michael always shares a few words before we pray over the meal. This year, he shared a story that is a great reminder for all of us about assuming someone’s position in matters of faith.

Michael teaches at Wayne State and had some interactions with a particular student over time that was more extensive than others due to the student’s interest in the subject matter. He stated one day recently this person came up to him and expressed their recent conversion to Christianity and how awesome it was to be saved. 

It took Michael by complete surprise, by this person’s actions, character and speech he said he assumed they were Christian. And because he assumed that he had never shared the gospel with them. He assumed they were okay in terms of faith and eternal matters. 

How dangerous is it to assume this with people we meet? How many people are in eternal danger of hell? How many people could you be a part of God’s plan in coming to living faith in Jesus Christ if the truth is shared with them?

Like Michael, I know I have done the same thing and I suspect you have too. There are many kind, loving, polite, well-heeled, financially-set suburban people in our neighborhoods and work places who are just as lost as the worst criminal in the world without Jesus and the cross. Assuming they are on the right side of eternity is like assuming I could drive a semi without good advice and training.

Seeking and saving the lost is Jesus’ mission. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus assumed before the cross we would be okay if he chose not to die there? Are we assuming we know who is saved and who is lost? The ground is level at the foot of the cross, and the cross is the only place where anyone is saved. The blood of Jesus washes away sin. His resurrection is eternal hope. That is the gospel.

Seems Paul had, and still has something to say about going on this mission with Jesus in 1 Corinthians 9 “19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

Remember Paul wrote this to the Church in Corinth, living in a culture that was a blend of many nationalities and the city was filled with money and sex. Paul did not make assumptions, he proclaimed Jesus crucified for sinners and risen for hope. Do you see anything similar with first century Corinth and suburban Detroit in 2019? As faithful followers of Jesus whom God tells to share His Word, we need to drop our assumptions and imitate Paul in the faithful sharing of the gospel.

You do not have to be an Apostle or a Pastor to be used by God. The ideal place to share the gospel is where he has you now, where you live, work and play! Yes, even and maybe especially if you don’t like it. Ever think about that? There is no one like you and you may be where you are for someone else to do as Paul did and enter into their lives so that Jesus may touch them through you.

Being a truck driver has provided unique opportunities to share the gospel. In 16 years of sharing I have been rejected many times. I have seen the gospel work in people’s lives at the back of a semi trailer in the middle of the street confessing their sins and receiving faith in Jesus and then watching the Holy Spirit change their lives. I have seen it take months, and I have seen it take years, and I have shared it for years without seeing change. Being content with how God operates and produces results is part of the package, not an easy part, but a real part. 

Michael’s Easter story reminded me assuming where people are in life and matters of faith is a bad idea no matter who we are or where we are. Ask the Holy Spirit to use you where you are, after all it is where you are!

Assuming how other people will drive while in a semi is a bad idea, I learned that by my Dad sharing good advice and truths with me. The same is true in matters of faith, assuming people are headed for heaven when they may be headed for hell is a bad idea. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16).” The answer is the gospel proclaimed to all, truth and good advice for eternity.