Hannah's story in 1 Samuel 1 demonstrates the beauty of lament and the folly of presumption. Hannah, barren wife of Elkanah, was sad. In the Voice Translation, verse 10 reads, "She was heartbroken, and she began to pray to the Eternal One, weeping uncontrollably as she did." Witnessing her, Eli, a priest, confronted her. He said, "How long are you going to continue drinking, making a spectacle of yourself? Stop drinking wine, and sober up!"
Hannah was a woman with chronic maternal longings and feelings of incompleteness. She prayed earnestly for God's work in her life and specifically for a child. In her, we see the beauty of lament. On the other hand, Eli the priest was presumptive. Rather than bringing comfort, rather than seeking clarity, he made assumptions about Hannah's state and confronted her. She could have retaliated. She could have left silently in shame. But by God's grace, Hannah chose to respond humbly to him.
How often do God's people make assumptions about those they encounter? How often do our presumptions give way to harsh words, words that distance people from Christ rather than draw him to the beauty of his mercy?
Christian, learn to listen before you speak. Learn to comfort before you challenge. Learn to slow down rather than rushing in.