Jumping To Conclusions


I remember a college professor that used to say, “The only exercise some folks get is jumping to conclusions.”

In the past week in the aftermath of the Boston bombings, lots of folks got plenty of exercise!

CNN mistakenly reported there was an arrest last Wednesday.  John King, the CNN chief national correspondent called it “embarrassing.”   However, other news outlets followed.  The AP, Boston Globe and Fox News all said an arrest had occurred or was imminent.  When the FBI denied it, everyone had to backtrack. 

Also social media went wild with pictures and reports of the supposed bombers.  Even New York Post got caught up in the mania and ran a cover story last Thursday with a photo of two men under the headline “Bag Men.”  They implied they were suspects, when in fact neither of them were.  One was a high school student who had nothing to do with the terrorist attack.

In a separate and unrelated case, a Mississippi man, Paul Curtis, was charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama, a U.S. Senator as well as another government official.  I mentioned it in a post last week as a fact. Yesterday he was released.  No proof was found that he sent the letters.  Now it is reported that he may have been framed.

These are all obvious examples of “jumping to conclusions” on a national level that don’t directly affect us.  But how many times have we been guilty of drawing unwarranted conclusions without having all the facts?

It can happen in our families.  Between husbands and wives.  Parents and children.  A teenager arrives home late and it’s easy to start jumping to conclusions without hearing their explanation.  Our spouse is talking to someone of the opposite sex that we don’t know, and a false conclusion is drawn.

Jumping to conclusions can occur among brethren.  What if I told you about a man where I preached that was seen going into a bar every day?  Really?  Of course, he was a mail-man!

Facebook is another place where many exercise their fanciful imagination by jumping to conclusions.  An innocent question is asked.  Or a simple statement is made.  And the posts start flying!  Motives are questioned. Charges are made.  Faithfulness is doubted.  All because something was read into the post that really wasn’t there.

Jumping to conclusions can occur when we don’t listen deliberately, read accurately or fail to look carefully.  When that happens mistakes occur and misunderstandings arise.

Jumping to conclusions in our relationships is too often fueled by envy. Jealousy.  Mistrust.  Suspicion. Bitterness.  Prejudice.  And sometimes just plain hatred.

The wise man warned,”He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is a folly and shame to him”  (Prov.18:13).

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul condemns those who engage in “evil suspicions”  (I Tim.6:4).

When we engage in baseless speculation, idle rumors, or unfounded accusations, especially in this day of social media, it may result in hurtful gossip or harmful slander.  And they can forever stigmatize an innocent and unsuspecting person.  Remember Richard Jewel?  He was the Atlanta security guard in 1996 who discovered a pipe bomb in Centennial Park.  He alerted police.  People were evacuated. Lives were saved.  Jewell was a hero.  Then some how he became a suspect.  And then was unfairly tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

When it comes to jumping to conclusions, some age-old advice is well worth heeding….Look before you leap!

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under America, Culture, Judging

5 responses to “Jumping To Conclusions

  1. julie davidson

    Bro. Ken: yes, i admit it…guilty as charged…there have been times when i’ve regretted “jumping to conclusions”, because i was just hearing, yet not LISTENING! 😦 oh well, i appreciate the reminder, today is a NEW DAY…will go on, now, thanks to your encouraging blog, and TRY to do better! 🙂 in His love, Julie

  2. Pingback: Around the Web (4/24) | InGodsImage.com

  3. Prescient post for me. I am trying to work on not being judgemental. The problem is that none of us think we are judgemental just like none of us consider ourselves bad drivers. Being judgemental or jumping to conclusions is something we don’t realise we have done until we have done it. We don’t have an inner voice that says “I am just about to jump to a conclusion” in the same way we do that says “you are about to eat a vast slice of cake/exceed the speed limit/say something you know you shouldn’t”

  4. Sandra Jo, Pine Bluff Church of Christ

    This is why Jesus says in Matthew 9:4, ” Why do you think evil in your hearts?” We are not to think evil of people but to think good. Unless we find out otherwise, zip the lips! We all have to work on this daily. Great blog and solid scripture references.

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