Thought of the Day

Jumping to Conclusions

When you jump to conclusions you often jump over the truth.

There is a wicked inclination in most people to suppose an old man decayed in his intellects. If a young or middle-aged man, when leaving a company, does not recollect where he has laid his hat, it is nothing; but if the same inattention is discovered in an old man, people will shrug their shoulders, and say, ‘His memory is going.’

Recorded in Boswell’s Life of Johnson, the 18th Century Samuel Johnson offers this advice.

We can reach the wrong conclusion all too readily. I was once
phoned by a man who was looking for my help. His speech was slurred and he struggled to make himself understood. Because I knew
something of the family’s circumstances, I concluded he was the worse
for drink, and I was immensely irritated that he’d bothered me in such an incoherent state. I told him I’d see him when he was more able to have a conversation. When I called at his home, I was horrified to discover that he’d recently had a Stoke which had left him with slurred speech. He hadn’t touched alcohol for months.

I apologised as profusely as I could. I’d like to report that my
apology was accepted, but I can’t. I wasn’t able to help the man or his family again, because jumping to the wrong conclusion had ruined any relationship we had.

A prayer for today

Lord, let my exercise today not consist of… jumping to conclusions, running off my mouth, stretching the truth, pushing my own views, bending over backwards or sidestepping my responsibility. My life might be better if I did things differently. Help me to get my faith – and my actions – fit for you.

Adapted from “Look Well to this Day” ©Tom Gordon –