Everyone knows how difficult it is to associate with people who rely on faulty assumptions and prejudices.
Jesus once said to the Pharisees, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices, but you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matt. 23 :23,24)
The Lord seeks to correct the hypocritical attitude that assumes God can be pleased by observing microscopic issues while neglecting the macroscopic matters of greater importance. Jesus was the Master at identifying, correcting and changing faulty assumptions.
1. Jesus knew that many people are not even aware of their faulty assumptions. The Lord said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ (Matt. 7:1,2)
2. Jesus is not suggesting that we should remain naive about other’s faulty assumptions, but that we should begin by correcting our own sins of omission, sins of commission, sins of wrong disposition and sins of erroneous assumptions.
3. Jesus assured people that wrong assumptions begin with faulty understandings of the character of God. The Lord said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.” (Matt. 7:9-11)
4. Some people believe that God is distant, uncaring and harsh. Faulty assumptions about our heavenly Father may have been influenced by the early impressions of our earthly Father. Jesus stresses that our heavenly Father is eager to give good things to those who entreat God for real needs. By learning more about the Lord’s attributes you will begin to see life from His eternally wise perspective.
5. Jesus gave us the acid test for people with faulty assumptions when He said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will know them.” (Matt. 7:15,16) People may pretend to be something that they are not, but their attitudes, behaviors and works know them.
6. Jesus warns people who try to live by faulty assumptions. The Lord said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 7:19) God is in the business of pruning, chastening, and refining people so that they may bear more fruit. Those who are persistently rebellious will be cast away to make room for people willing to do God’s will.
7. Jesus warns non-Christians who live by faulty religious assumptions to repent or perish. The Lord said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) False assumptions about the Lord, about His will and our responsibilities to obey are no joking matter.
8. Jesus encourages people to not build their life on faulty assumptions. The Lord said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt. 7:26,27)
9. Jesus knows that people who are not consistently obedient to Him will not be able to stand the tests of difficult times. People who assume that they can withstand any adversity must remember that only those who have faithfully done the will of God will be able to stand up to the pressures, pleasures and temptations that will eventually come flooding into their life.
10. Jesus amazed people because His teaching identified faulty assumptions that they thought were hidden. Matthew wrote about the crowds’ reactions, “The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matt. 7:28,29)
11. The Lord understands everyone faulty assumptions and He alone has all the facts. While you are serving God be careful to not try to play the role of God and wrongly judge other’s motives. Only God is able to make wise judgments about people’s faulty assumptions with complete objectivity.