By now I suppose everyone has heard about the “fake noose” report involving NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace.
The alleged hate crime was page 1 news when it was reported that a hanging noose was discovered inside Wallace’s garage at Talladega. Almost every media outlet along with NASCAR, Wallace himself, and a number of outspoken celebrities decrying racism condemned it in the strongest possible terms. Disturbing. Disguising. And reprehensible.
Incredibly, the story was quickly debunked by internet sleuths. Soon thereafter an FBI investigation that required 15 agents, determined the so-called noose, was actually a door pull rope that had been in this garage since last Fall, well before team 43’s arrival and garage assignment.
It seems that almost everyone jumped to conclusions before the facts were eventually discovered and announced.
While it’s tempting for ThePreachersWord to offer commentary on the media, our current social/political problems, and the hypersensitive state of race relations today, we’ll leave that to writers like Jason Whitlock, the radio and TV personality. However, it’s a good lesson to remind us all to be careful about jumping to conclusions.
The wise man warned, “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is a folly and shame to him.” (Prov.18:13).
“Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?” (Prov 25:8)
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul condemns those who engage in “evil suspicions” (1 Tim. 6:4).
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 who 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 hurled. Positions are ascribed to him that he denies. And one’s character is assassinated.
Why do people jump to conclusions?
Maybe it’s a casual assumption without any thought. Or we don’t listen carefully. Sometimes we overthink an issue. Possibly there’s a hidden agenda. Or a narrative that fits an ideology we want to propagate and promote.
Jumping to conclusions in our relationships is too often fueled by envy and jealousy. Mistrust. Suspicion. Bitterness. Prejudice. And sometimes just plain hatred. In such cases, the observation of one sage is appropriate, “The eyes are useless when the mind is blind.”
Things are not always what they seem to be. Job’s friends assumed his suffering was due to his sins. That he was not as righteous as he appeared to be. And was guilty of evil in his life. They reasoned God punishes wicked people with calamity. You’ve suffered calamity. Therefore, you must be wicked. But they were wrong. They jumped to an incorrect conclusion based on a faulty assumption. As one humorist observed, “If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck…you should not be so quick to jump to conclusions.”
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 such allegations can forever stigmatize an innocent person, group or organization.
Don ‘t be like James N. Miller, who once quipped, “The only exercise I excel at is jumping to conclusions.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman