Rubin“Hurricane” Carter, played by Denzel Washington in the movie Hurricane Carter, shares the story of the middleweight boxing contender who was wrongfully convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey in the 1960’s and served 20 years before being exonerated. 20 years of his life were lost and taken all because of a lie and the assumption that the lie was true.
According to the Innocence Project there has been 330 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States since 1989. The average length of time served by exonerees is 14 years and 20 of the 330 persons exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Eyewitness Misidentification Testimony was a factor in more than 70 percent of post-conviction DNA exoneration cases in the U.S., making it the leading cause of these wrongful convictions. This simply means that the jury weighed on the side assuming the validity of what some individual said they saw or knew even when what they said was seen or known was a lie.
We each know that no life is without scandal and storms. Life has its share of testings and trials. Such is the case that Joseph soon discovers in Egypt in the Genesis narrative. He has been deceived, disowned and left for dead by his brothers. Only to be deceived by Potiphar’s wife and disowned by Potiphar. The theme of the narrative in Genesis 39:6-23 is this: Never be deceived by individuals who are attracted to what is on you nor be distracted by those who make assumptions about you because it all is a weapon of the enemy due to the anointing within you. Therefore, choose to focus on your anointing and not what others are assuming.
“Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused (v. 6-8a REV).”
In this blog I want to share with us one of the most overlooked realities and life lessons from Joseph – assumptions. Listen to the words from the scriptures regarding this awful event in the life of Joseph:
“Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.” 19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison (Genesis 39:16-20 ESV).
Potiphar serves as the voice of individual’s who believe one side of the story. Proverbs 18:17 states: “Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight (TLB).” The problem with Potiphar is that he failed to allow Joseph to tell his side. He merely assumed that the story of his wife was truth. The scriptures state in Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (NIV).”
Have you recently reacted like Joseph? I mean, have you ever responded and reacted toward an individual based upon what was told to you without ever giving the individual the opportunity to defend themselves? Again, Proverbs 18:17 states: “Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight (TLB).” Why did you never give the other side the opportunity to set the record straight.
Or, do you know the struggle of having individuals who are acquainted and associated with you to assume that what they have heard about you to be true without ever asking you? Or better yet have you received ill-treatment by a friend or family member via text, email, or social media whose content already suggest that have assumed true what they have heard?
I am sure that you have been the victim of this as I have too. Whenever we hear a rumor and/or gossip or we see something, we are never to make assumptions based on what we hear or what we think we see and immediately go off on some wild tangent. We are to pray for clarity and conversation with the individual(s) involved. Things are not always they way they seem.
I challenge you to spend this day reflecting on any current situation that you have responded to negatively towards an individual without having a conversation with that individual first. Again.Never be deceived by individuals who are attracted to what is on you nor be distracted by those who make assumptions about you because it all is a weapon of the enemy due to the anointing within you. Therefore, choose to focus on your anointing and not what others are assuming.
The bottomline is this – before you respond and react quickly to what you hear or what you think you know – ASK.