Jumping to Conclusions

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. –1 Peter 3:8-9

The story has been told of a person who had purchased a small package of cookies at an airport before her flight. She sat down to wait for the time to board the plane and began to read a newspaper. Gradually, she became aware of a noise coming from the seat next to her. From behind her paper, she was stunned to see a man helping himself to her cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, but wanting the man to know she noticed him, she reached down and took a cookie for herself. A few moments went by and she heard more rustling. She looked down to see the man taking another cookie. So, she reached down and took another cookie as well. Finally, she watched the man take the last cookie, break it in half and push the other half over to her. He ate the half-cookie, got up and left. The woman was furious! Later, on the plane, the woman opened her handbag and was both shocked and embarrassed to find her package of unopened cookies.

Has something like this ever happened to you? Have you ever made a wrong assumption about someone else? I know that I have! This story provides a reminder on the dangers of jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately, forming opinions about others based on wrong assumptions is all too common.

On most occasions, we could all benefit from being slower to judge one another. Be patient. Intentionally hesitate for another moment after your first impression has been formed to see if the big picture becomes clearer. Judge in a way you would want to be judged. And, even if your first impression was correct, and you end up losing a package of cookies, remind yourself that it really isn’t all that important!

1. Think of a time when you jumped to a wrong conclusion about someone else. How did you handle the situation? How would you handle it differently today? How would the situation have been better if you had not made a wrong assumption?

2. How can you do to avoid making a wrong assumption about someone else today?

Matthew 7:1-5; 1 Corinthians 6:7; 1 Peter 3:13-14

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, editor, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord Culture Blog also appears on Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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