Making Assumptions

Gospel Message & Recording

We as human beings often make assumptions. Assumptions are ideas or judgments that we make about people based on minimal proof, or in some cases false accusations.

In today’s Gospel reading, taken from Mark 3:20-30, two categories of people, namely scribes and Jesus’ hometown people, are making an assumption about Jesus. That is, that He performs His miracles through the power of a satanic spirit—Beelzebub. The scribes and Jesus’ hometown people are making these assumptions without enough proof. Their assumptions are driven by jealousy, and possibly false accusations. The point is, they did not have proof that Jesus was operating His ministry through demonic influence. Jesus did not preach or teach like the scribes, or uphold the traditional way of doing things, so they were determined to destroy Jesus’ ministry. Knowing this, Jesus becomes infuriated. He declares that those who say such things about Him, commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin. This type of sin is very specific and deals only with making statements that Jesus is operating under, with or by Satan/a demonic spirit. We cannot extend this to any other area of sin.

We as Christian may not have committed the unforgivable sin but we have made assumptions about other people, based on race or class. Like the scribes and Jesus’ hometown people, it is based on information that is not accurate or produced falsely by social prejudices.

First, we make assumptions about someone based on their race or ethnicity. In many ways we have preconceived assumptions about race, conditioned by the media and our American culture. God has made human beings with different skin color, height, weight, and hair as evidence of His great power. Rather than embracing this diversity of God, we make assumptions and reject it. It is imperative that we get to know others rather than making assumptions based on race.

Second, we make assumptions that someone is rich or poor based on the clothes they wear, car they drive or house they own, and place them into a certain “class” within society, deriving presuppositions about their behavior, character, likes and dislikes, etc. For example, we might see someone drive a Mercedes-Benz and immediately assume that he is rich. Even though that might be true, there could be other possibilities, such as, the person could have saved-up money for many years and then purchased the car. Or, he might be leasing it for a short period of time. Again, maybe he bought it at a discounted price. Similarly, just because someone is poor does not mean they are irresponsible or having mental problems. Someone might be poor due to various types of “bad-breaks” or “set-backs” that they encountered in their life. Further, just because someone is wealthy does not make him haughty or prideful. And the poor man is not humble because he has less than the rich man. Whatever the case maybe, making assumptions based on someone’s class is wrong.

As Orthodox Christians let us never make assumptions based on race or class. We might be racially diverse, wealthy, or less wealthy than others but that does not define our character or who we are as a person on the inside. The scribes and Jesus’ hometown people never really tried to understand Jesus, that is, get to know him, but made assumptions based on their “traditional” prejudices.