Misreading

1 Samuel 1:12
“And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.”

Eli made a classic mistake that many often make. Hannah came to the temple with a heavy heart with the sole purpose of bringing her petition to the LORD. As she prayed in the temple, “Eli marked her mouth” and assumed that she was drunk. When he approached her about his assumption, she informed him of her heavy heart. Eli totally miscalculated Hannah’s action because he misread her and her intentions.

Many people create their own problems because they misread situations. Every person is most likely guilty of this at some point in their life, and every person knows the embarrassment of what misreading a situation has caused. Let me share with you a few thoughts on the danger of misreading.

First, misreading often leads to hurt feelings. Many relationships have been damaged because someone thought they knew the intentions and motives of another only to find out that they were completely wrong. You are playing with fire when you start to read into another’s motives and intentions. You will live a life of hurting people if you try to read into someone’s spirit, motives or intentions.

Second, misreading often leads to faulty conclusions. How often have you read into something only to find out you were wrong? My friend, you cannot come to a right conclusion when you are trying to read into something that you don’t know. Reading into another’s motives, intentions or spirit is speculative at best. When you live a life of speculating what others are thinking, you will find yourself coming to wrong conclusions which causes you to think wrong of others. If you want to avoid misreading, there are two things you need to do.

First, don’t read into motives. There is no way you can know someone’s motives. You are not God, and you can’t know why someone is doing what they are doing. You would do yourself a great favor by not living your life always guessing what someone’s motives are for doing something. When you read into someone’s motives, you are saying that you don’t trust what they are telling you. My friend, only two people know a person’s motives, and that is that person and God. One of the greatest days of your life will be when you stop reading into another’s motives.

Second, don’t assume someone’s intentions. It is virtually impossible for you to know the intentions of another person. Many times you miss the blessings of what an individual is doing because you misread their intentions. A person can misread the intentions of their spouse only to miss the blessing of their spouse just wanting to do something good. Let me ask you; why do you think someone always has an ulterior motive? Are you assuming that others have ulterior motives for what they do because you always have ulterior motive for your actions? Just because someone does something good for you doesn’t mean they have an ulterior motive. It could be that a person’s intention is exactly what they are doing. You will miss many blessings in life if you always think someone has an ulterior motive for the good they do. Let this story of Eli and Hannah be a reminder to stop reading into one’s motives and intentions. Take the actions of people as pure motives and intentions, and you will be able to enjoy the blessings of their good actions towards you.

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