The phrase “jumping to a conclusion” is used to describe the tendency or behavior connected with processing information in which a person reaches a conclusion, decision, or judgment about something without all the facts or considering all the facts.
During my early teen years, I accompanied my father to visit a needy family that we were helping with groceries in a time of dire circumstances. We had delivered some paper bags of donated food previously, and a couple of days later we stopped by to check on them. Upon our arrival, the mother of the house was in the yard opening a whole pound of bacon and throwing the whole pound of bacon to their dog. First impression: this woman who is having trouble feeding her children is wasting some really expensive and good food feeding her dog that could do well with dog food or scraps.
As we visited with her, my dad made a comment about the dog to which she replied: “Yeah, I just gave him that spoiled bacon. Do you think it will make him sick? He’s really hungry and I don’t have enough food for him. I opened the bacon for breakfast this morning and it was bad.”
My dad assured her the dog’s digestive system was stronger than a human’s and would probably do just fine.
I jumped to the wrong conclusion about her wasting bacon! I reached a conclusion of what she was doing and why without a fuller grasp of the facts and motivations behind her behavior.
I quoted someone the other day and received an email correcting me for being part of “that false doctrine” as if I was part of some movement of “manifested sons” that is both unBiblical and a bit of a stretch for a thinking person. The “hasty generalization” was a jump to the conclusion that because I quoted someone that person assumed was part of “that movement,” I was also part of that movement. The email corrected me for assuming I was some kind of super leader, self-appointing myself as an apostle, twisting Scriptures, failing to believe that Jesus is coming back again for His saints, and perpetuating false revival. Wow! I turned out to be a really bad guy just because I quoted someone. The person I quoted doesn’t fit any of these conclusions either, of course, but the person was “doing God a favor” by straightening me out with a few choice quotations upon which he seemed certain to have the final insight. Of course, better men than me have been discussing these Scriptures and refining viewpoints on them for generations.
I mentioned on Facebook that I was happy to see Benny Hinn restored with his wife, and you would think I had given my blessing to the antichrist! All I said was that it is good that a marriage was restored! That would be true if the couple were both atheists, right? But, several people felt it would be very helpful to me and the world to rehearse everything they thought they knew and understood about Benny Hinn, healers, the faith movement, rich preachers, jets, what’s wrong with the church in these days of the great falling away, and ministries that use circus acts to fool stupid people.
The hasty generalizations came from jumping to the conclusion that all healing ministries are the same, that Benny Hinn shouldn’t have a better car than they do or have a jet, that Benny Hinn was a total fake and no one ever got healed or saved or helped or encouraged by his ministry -well, you get the idea. Then, the faith movement had to get lumped into a massive pile of selfish, egotistical slobbery.
It was similar to the idea that all Catholic priests are gay pedophiles because they heard on TV that a few of them were. It was similar to the idea that “the church is full of hypocrites” because they are or have met someone they determined didn’t live up to their expectations of a believer. It was similar to the idea that all politicians are crooks, all used car salesmen are liars, all funeral home directors are related to the Adams family, all Italians are mafia, all dentists love to inflict pain, all rich people are greedy, all mother-in-laws are…
Good people process information differently, and good people may have faulty reason or illogical assumptions.