What I’m calling positive assumption simply means assuming the best about a person. We think about this when we are trying to encourage people by pointing out something they’re doing well, but positive assumption can be every bit as helpful when someone is doing something wrong that needs to be addressed.

Instead of pointing out a person’s blind spot because you assume they’re unaware of it, why not start with something along the lines of: “I’m sure you’re aware of this and working on it….” Although you’re still addressing the issue, you’re also showing respect for the person you’re talking with. You’re assuming a level of awareness on their part. And you’re assuming that they—like you—are a work in progress and are actively growing and learning.

A posture of respect assumes the best of those you’re working alongside. How much different would many church relationships be if we all practiced positive assumption?

Byron Spradlin, founder of Artists in Christian Testimony International, was the one who taught me this principle. You can check out his blog here.