Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, January 30

Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not get dominion over me; then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a great offense.
—Psalm 19:13

To presume is to take for granted, to assume without foundation for that assumption. Presumptuousness is a long word for a shortcoming I wrestle with all the time. I assume that my husband understands me. I assume that my boss knows I want more time off. I assume my friends know I love them. 

The psalmist’s words ring true. Presumptuous sins can indeed get dominion over us and make life a great big mess. Spouses do not understand us when we don’t talk to them about what’s on our minds. Employers do not understand we need time off unless we speak clearly about our needs. Our friends certainly do not know how we feel about them (or ourselves, for that matter) when we skim along on the surface of conversation and never ask about or express feelings.

The opposite of presuming is, I suppose, knowing. To know a spouse means asking questions and then listening to the answers. To know our “boss” is to risk speaking up and then to accept the response—or the consequences of the response. To know our friends is to speak from the heart and to listen, listen, listen.

Making assumptions or being presumptuous can lead to all sorts of trouble—trouble that we could avoid by taking time to listen, ask, and be present to others. Thanks be to God for this wise psalmist!

Dear God, help me to recognize my presumptuous ways. Heal me, so that I shall indeed be whole and sound. Amen.