Suspicion - The Faulty Way to Decide (Gen 38:1-11)
Speaker: Pr Joshua Yong
Date: 27 Sep 2020

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Sermon notes taken by:

Mrs Audrey Tam

The word “suspicion” has a Latin origin which means mistrust, not trusting someone, and thus you will read between the lines of everything that person says or does. There is a proper place for suspicion so that we will not fall prey easily to deception. We live in a world full of fake news and falsehoods, thus discernment is very important. However, we must not go the other extreme where we become cynical and paranoid. This is the case in Genesis 38:1-11 where Judah was suspicious of Tamar as both his sons died after being with Tamar. We must not be suspicion without any facts.

1.   Suspicion is often based on false assumptions

Suspicion may be based on a person's own assumptions or past experiences which may not be true in this case. This is a very lazy way of judging people. Some people may have been hurt in the past and thus now they do not want to interact with others or serve others. This is neither being careful nor exercising discernment. The power of gossip in a fellowship group or in a church can be deadly and devastating. All these can be stopped if the person clarifies with the other party who supposedly make the remarks. Clarity and reconciliation are the biblical ways.

2.   Suspicion will hurt the innocent party

Judah suspected that Tamar was the cause of his sons' deaths; his assumptions were based on false propositions and were erroneous. This wrong suspicion would hurt an innocent party. To be a widow in those days was to be ostracized from society. Tamar was hurt and shamed by Judah's suspicion. 

3.   Suspicion leads to unbiblical decisions

Suspicion led Judah to make the wrong, ungodly, unbiblical decision to withhold Shelah from Tamar. This displeased God.

Our Lord Jesus Christ can read the heart and intention of people; yet in His response to His enemies, He did not sin. He is willing to be taken advantage of. We can learn from Jesus: to deny self (while applying the principle in Matthew 10:16: “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”). Do not make decisions based on suspicion. Make decisions based on the Word of God. God’s Word can and will help us to discern.

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