By Josh Anderson
Not a day goes by in counseling where assumptions don’t come up. Often, they’re a main focus. And not only for counselees, but for me too as a counselor. We all have them. We all live out of them, seeing others and ourselves through them. They’re the camera lens through which we live our lives and see others live their lives.
This isn’t wrong (necessarily). We all do it. But obviously the quality of our assumptions are based on how they are misinformed, self-focused, sinful, unrealistic, or benevolent, patient, and informed by the law of love.
A first way in growing to have loving assumptions is to identify the current assumptions we hold about others, God, and ourselves. After this we can learn more loving assumptions to take their place. There’s a second way too. Begin adding loving assumptions to your heart and practice in life and they will slowly become habits. Another thing likely to happen is unloving assumptions will rise up and you’ll be faced with decisions to entrust God with them. He’ll give you help, power, and vision as you seek to grow in love for others.
1. Assume they’re growing. Assume you’re growing. Assume it’s going slower than you think, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. It’s like a height chart on the door, marking a child’s growth. It’s nearly impossible to see the daily height growth of a child. But it’s happening. Along with a lot of other development in their brain, nervous system, language, and social skills. We may not see everything all the time, but that’s ok. Growth is happening.
2 Assume their growth should be pointed out. Growth is glorious to God. Degrees of growth aren’t sexy. And no doubt, ‘glorious’ is sometimes a word we Christians use to make something sound important, attractive, or worth pursuing. It’s probably an overused word. In this case, growth is all of those things, and worth pointing out.
We’re taught that through Christ a dead, blind person’s spiritual “veil” is removed, which brings about a transformation. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). When the Spirit removes the veil we not only see Jesus, the image of the glory of God, but he transforms us into Jesus’ image, which begins the transformation process, from glory to glory. It’s not just sight. It’s everything.
This teaches us at least a few things.
One, for every single Christian we are growing little by little. It’s happening in us. It’s happening in our Christian family members. It’s happening in our pastors. It’s happening in their wives. It’s happening in other Christian churches who don’t share every belief and doctrine. Little by little, each member of Jesus’ bride is growing by taking steps of faith and love. These steps are when we trust and practice the things we see and hear about Christ in the Scriptures. Transformation isn’t only the goal. It’s always happening in the process of taking steps. By growing, we become a little more like our loving husband, and reflect our Father.
Two, these little, itty-bitty steps, are really big deals. At least according to God, they’re glorious. I often use the example of when our children and grandchildren begin to roll from their tummy to their back. Or when they begin to scoot and crawl. Or when they pull themselves up on the furniture and begin to gain balance. Over weeks and months their brains and bodies begin to work together to shuffle and walk along the couch. Then they take their hand off and try walking without support. And what do we do when we watch? We smile. We encourage. We help them gain confidence. We get out our phones and take fifty videos, as we should. It’s incredible to watch them take these small growth steps. They’re a big deal! How silly and mean would it be if, instead of encouraging our child, we commented that they can’t run or jump yet? What if we downplayed the importance of their growth by focusing on all the ways they’re not more grown? It would be completely missing the point and reality of the growth taking place. Relative to where they’re at in life, they’re doing great!
It’s a perfect reflection of the glorious growth that takes place over our long lives as Christians. And not just ours, but everyone who has God’s Spirit. This is a loving assumption. This is a true assumption. God is working in people’s lives. For us, it’s a matter of gaining awareness of how he’s working, recognizing it in all its little glory, and praising him and others for it.
God is working in our lives. Growth is happening. And, evidently, it’s glorious to our Father. Loving assumptions are a part of that work too. They move us from evaluating others to being thankful for Christ’s transforming work in their lives, and from watching them to creative and constructive love for them.