Who but God can forgive sins? (Mark 2:7)
A while back I wrote the author of a book on the political events of 1940 to express my appreciation. I added this note:
That year is also special because I made my appearance on March 28, 1940. But don’t think me old just because I was born in 1940.
Later, I wondered why I’d gone to the trouble to say that, as I do not know that author and don’t expect to meet him. Why did that matter?
I decided it’s a personal thing.
None of us want to be pigeon-holed because of demographics or statistics, and not for preconceptions or ignorance. Being a Southerner does not make you a redneck. Living in Mississippi does not mean you are barefooted. All Louisianians do not speak Cajun. All Yankees are not rude.
I came up with this list of assumptions I do not want people making about me. Again, it’s just a personal thing; you will have your own list.
Do not assume…
1) that I’m humorless just because I’m a preacher.
2) that I’m idle just because I’m retired.
3) that I’m unquestioning just because I’m a Christian.
4) that I’m saintly just because I’ve been saved since 1951.
5) that I’m intolerant just because I’m evangelistic.
6) that I’m homophobic just because I’m a conservative Christian.
7) that I’m set in my ways just because I’m grey-headed. (I am in some areas, but that’s another story.)
Clearly, this kind of list could go on and on. Don’t assume because I’m male that I’m insensitive, because I love New Orleans that I’m worldly, because I was raised in Alabama that I’m a hillbilly, or because I’m pro-life that I’m not also an animal lover.
Don’t assume because I’m a creationist that I’m stupid.
People make these generalizations and assumptions based on their preconceptions and ignorance. We call that prejudice. They don’t consider your evidence but go immediately to the verdict which they had decided on in advance.
In Jesus’ day people made many assumptions about Him.
They assumed because He was man, He could not be God. But He was. (See John 1:14 and 20:28)
They assumed because His disciples were sometimes powerless, that He was, too. He wasn’t. (See Mark 9:18)
They assumed because He allowed Himself to be executed on a Roman cross that He was defeated. That was actually His greatest victory. (See John 10:18)
They assumed because no one had ever risen from the grave that He hadn’t either. But He did. (See John 20 and I Corinthians 15)
They assumed He was absent just because He went to Heaven and was no longer physically present. He left them bodily but more importantly, He never left. (See Matthew 28:18-20 and Hebrews 13:5)
And today, they assume that He is not returning to earth just because He hasn’t so far. Wrong assumption. (See Matthew 24:44 and John 14:3)
On the other hand, there are valid assumptions we are allowed to make about Jesus. Here are some that come to mind….
We may assume He will keep His promises. See II Corinthians 1:20.
We may assume He will finish what He has begun in us. That’s Philippians 1:6.
We may assume that He has His own reasons for what He does. Psalm 115:3 says this well.
We may assume that even when He seems nowhere in evidence and things are tough for us, He is still present, still watching, and still Lord. Acts 7:56 is a good example of this.
We may assume that whoever turns to Him in simple repentance and faith is welcomed into His care, is forgiven of all sin, and is ushered into the family of God with full rights and privileges thereof. John 6:37 and Romans 10:13 bear this out.
“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your faithfulness. We praise you for encouraging us to base our eternity on your continued faithfulness. Amen.”