Don’t Jump to Conclusions!

Fresh Manna 2009© by Pastor Tim Burt

When our children were young, Renee and I bought them a trampoline. (This is not an endorsement. It worked for us, but we had strict rules.) The kids loved it and had a blast on it. One day they talked me into getting on it. As we began to bounce, they did some little move that caused me to fly high and over the side. I cracked my rib. It was painful. I shouldn’t have gotten on it to begin with and I knew it. I never got on it again.

There is another jump that has caused me great pain -jumping to conclusions. When I worked as a flight attendant for the airlines, I was often the lead flight attendant. It was common to have to make good and decisive decisions on the spot. If I flew and managed a 747, you could literally walk up to the aircraft, meet a large crew, find out that you were in charge, and have to start making decisions quickly. It was the nature of the job. When I ran my own companies, I frequently make important decisions. When I was hired as a Pastor of a growing church, I faced the same thing. Over the years I had become a decisive person. I seemed to have developed the ability to grasp the big picture, take many things into consideration, and make decisive decisions.

One mistake that I had occasionally made early on was thinking I had all the facts to make a decision only to find out that I didn’t. That’s called “jumping to conclusions” and when you do that it can hurt like falling off a trampoline. You can embarrass yourself because you think you have all the information you need and have formed a judgment only to find out you didn’t have all the information and you formed the wrong judgment. “Ouch,” that hurts. It can embarrass you and hurt others.

I think most parents have fallen off the trampoline in this area. Little Johnny comes crying because his bigger brother hit him. As Johnny is crying he sobs, “Daddy, Billy knocked me down really hard!” You ask, “Why did Johnny knock you down?” Again he jerks and sobs harder, “I didn’t do anything! He was just being mean!” You walk in to the bedroom where Billy is. Billy has been acting up and irritating you lately as it is. You angrily give him an all day “time out” in his bedroom and warn him not to come out. Now Billy is crying and defending himself but you aren’t listening. You walk out of the room mad at Billy and say, “Don’t hit Johnny one more time for any reason!”

Later that night, your wife asks you if you’ve seen the huge bruise on Billy’s back? “No. What does he have a bruise from?” you ask. “I guess Johnny was throwing a tantrum and picked up a belt and swung it at Billy and hit him on the back.” “It’s a huge welt,” she says. “Billy didn’t hit him. He just grabbed the belt from Johnny’s hand and accidentally knocked him over in doing so. Billy said he tried to explain to you but you wouldn’t listen.” Now you feel horrible and need to go apologize to Billy. You can’t undo what you did by “jumping to conclusions.” You can only feel bad and apologize.

Getting the whole story, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, listening with compassion and mercy, and clothing yourself with love by desiring a just resolution will help you make good decisions. It will take patience but the development of patience within your character will help you to assess and respond rather than react and blurt. It’s better than lying on the ground with a cracked rib or feeling ashamed and stupid for jumping when and where you shouldn’t have!

Proverbs 25:8 (MB) says, “Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”

In His love,
Pastor Tim

Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.
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