Jumping to Conclusions
- Taking both sides of a story into consideration BEFORE judging or making a decision will keep you out of trouble. One person’s side may sound good until the other side is revealed. To keep from damaging relationships, be objective and don’t rush to accuse until you are in complete possession of all the facts. Take these actions to avoid jumping to conclusions.
- Refrain from filling in missing information by guessing about the facts of a situation. Stop wasting precious time and energy on what you think may have happened. There may be a perfectly good explanation for why a particular action was taken (Proverbs 25:8-10). Ask for it.
- Carefully examine all alternatives or solutions to problems before coming to a final conclusion. Make sure you have a good reason for what you’ve decided to do to avoid making a fool of yourself.
- Jumping to conclusions can also mean labeling or prejudging others. To avoid this trap, refuse to interpret a person’s behavior based on assumptions and stereotypes, or become overly critical and intolerant of people who are different (Romans 14:10).
Giving Others the Benefit of the Doubt
One of the best ways to make sure you get both sides of a story is to deliberately give people the benefit of the doubt. This means choosing to believe something good about a person’s behavior when there’s a possibility that the details may turn out to be either good or bad. It means treating people with respect and dignity and keeping an open mind until all facts are explored.
To willingly give the benefit of the doubt requires prayer and patience. Pray for wisdom to uncover all the facts from both sides of the story to better understand different points of view. Exercise patience as you wait for God to show the role (if any) you should play in properly handling the situation. Seek forgiveness if you have jumped to conclusions or prejudged and offer reconciliation in love (Proverbs 10:12).