by Pastor Tim Burt
When my four children were teenagers and younger, 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. They played on it hour after hour, day after day! We got our money’s worth for sure! And I praise God that none of them ever got hurt. But, I did. I had put it together and watched them jump over and over for weeks. One day they begged me repeatedly, Come on dad, get up here. You can do this. I caved in and got on it. In a very short time I went flying over the side of the trampoline crashing to the ground. I lay there groaning as the kids put their hands on me to pray. Dad, are you alright? I had cracked my rib. It was painful. I never got on it again. I shouldn’t have jumped to begin with and I knew it.
There are another jumps that have caused me great pain; one of them being the jumping to conclusions too fast. It seems that most of my business past taught and prepared me to make to make decisions quickly. When I ran my own companies, I had to frequently make decisions. When I was hired as a Pastor of a growing church, that didn’t change. I had to make important decisions frequently! I had learned over the years to 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 quality decision, only to find out that I didn’t have all the facts. 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 have formed the wrong judgment. Ouch! That hurts. It can embarrass you and hurt others.
I think every parent has been guilty at some time of punishing the wrong child when strife between siblings has broken out! And that happened because of jumping to conclusions before they had all the facts. It’s a common casualty in parenting!
In life, people jump to conclusions too frequently. They hear only one side of a problem between people and too quickly jump to conclusions. They hear an alleged accusation against someone in a news story and jump to conclusions. They hear a rumor of a decision the boss has made and jump to conclusions. Many do so because they are impulsive and impatient in many areas of their life. And this bleeds over into jumping to conclusions. Proverbs 25:8 (MSG) says, “Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”
Being a decisive person in general has taught me that I have to be all the more cautious to make sure I have the facts I need to truly assess a conflict or situation accurately. Otherwise I might “jump” and end up where I don’t want to be – embarrassed by my conclusions, my words, and in some cases, my emotions and actions.
Impatience causes us to make this mistake. Impatience leads to jumping to conclusions, poor or horrible listening skills, impulsiveness, speaking words later regretted, and making wrong decisions.
Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT) brings the instruction that we need so that the Holy Spirit can work the supernatural character transformation of patience within us. It says, “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, AND PATIENCE. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
Getting the whole story, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, listening with compassion and mercy, and clothing yourself with love by desiring resolution and good decisions will help force and develop patience within you. 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!
1 Corinthians 4:5 (MSG) “So don’t get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When He comes, He will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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