Assume the Best

Originally published Thursday, 02 February 2012.

A few weeks ago I was at a stoplight and saw to the left of me a man sitting on a bench. His clothes were ruffed up, his hair was a mess and he had what seemed to be his lunch spread out.

I took a deep sigh and said, “That poor homeless man.”

My husband looked at me and said, “Do you know that man is homeless or are you just assuming?”


He was right. Even though I was “sympathetically” assuming this man was homeless, I had no grounds to make this assumption. I felt horrible and said to my husband, “You’re right. I don’t know his story.”

Over the past few days I have been asking God to show me what it looks like to assume the best of someone. I’ll be honest; sometimes this is difficult.

I’ve been hurt by the assumptions others have made about me. As I’ve tried to climb through a past that often haunts me, I hate running into people who knew me “back then.” I want so badly to tell them everything God has done with my story, but something seems to hold me back.

I fear judgment, condemnation and looks of shame.

Perhaps it is easier for us to just assume than ask a person their story. But there is a craving in my soul, a longing, to understand others rather than drawing misconceptions.

I trust the hurt I’ve had in my life will help me love others in a way that represents Jesus well.

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” -- Psalm 119:71

And so…

I assume the best of the person who challenges things I say; they are in a season of growth too.

I assume the best of my husband when he gets home late; work was difficult.

I assume the best of an email un-responded; they need time to think.

Today I am challenged to let Truth have its way in me. I’m assuming of others the way I’d want them to assume about me. And, I’m leaning in to the story of your life the way I’d want you to lean into mine…

I’m learning what it means to assume … the best.