Do You Jump to Conclusions?
Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.Proverbs 13:16
I used to jump to conclusions about many things, especially when it came to what people were saying. However when I was training to be a counselor, I quickly learned to never jump to conclusions because I can be very wrong. It is always best to do away with our preconceived ideas and search out the facts.
To answer before listening—that is folly and shame (Proverbs 18:13). This verse requires responding to a person to fully understand what he or she is saying. This can be done by paraphrasing their statement or asking a series of open questions. (An open question cannot be answered by “Yes” or “No”, and normally does not ask the question “why?”) This verse also tells us to verify what the person is telling us and to overcome any preconceived ideas about the subject. When you are ministering to people, it’s best to remain objective, yet compassionate. Failure to do this can lead to transference, which means that what the person is saying may trigger a sensitive area in you and take your mind off the person you are ministering to; even worse it may cause you to have a bad emotional response.
The key to not jumping to conclusions is to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and the desire to understand fully what the other person really is trying to say. Learning to listen requires a respectful heart that desires to fully understand and glean the best from what the person is saying. Often through open questions we can lead the person to a better solution than the one they were proposing.
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom (Proverbs 11:2). From this verse we may conclude that jumping to conclusions can be considered as prideful. When disagreeing with someone it is often best to reply with an open question in an effort to lead them to your conclusion, assuming your conclusion is correct.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking (James 1:5). Wisdom, compassion, patience, and listening, are usually the best tools when ministering, or interfacing with anyone. A genuine interest in what the person has to say and the desire to have complete understanding usually leads to a fulfilling conversation with good results. However jumping to conclusions often stifles the subject of the conversation and invokes a defensive reaction or no reaction.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Instead of showing anger, introduce an open statement to determine where the person is going in the conversation, or you may disagree with or misunderstand a statement. When counseling someone, always seek to understand the person through listening to what he or she is saying and respond in open questions.
Today make a concerted effort not to jump to conclusions, but collect all the facts before making a decision. It is certainly easy to jump to conclusions, but seeking full understanding is rewarding and can help us in all our relationships.
Let’s Pray: Lord, help me not to jump to conclusions; please give me the patience to fully understand what others are saying. Help me to respond in wisdom, always showing respect to the person. In Jesus name, Amen.