Have you seen those shows where people do these really weird things like jumping from one slippery object turning or spinning out of control onto the next moving object in hopes of getting to the end of the course without ending up in the waters below? The idea is to be named the winner with the best time. The idea in pursuing it is a moment of fame, but the senselessness in it is a pretty hard beating to your body! Those slippery and moving objects appear harmless, but the players don't count on the speed at which they are turning, causing them to fall out of control, even when they land a "solid leap" onto the object. What we don't know can hurt us, right? It can also land us in some places we'd rather not end up! Jumping onto these moving, slippery objects is kind of like jumping to conclusions - it can land us in the "drink" and before we know it, we are in over our heads!
Don’t jump to conclusions—there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw. (Proverbs 25:8 MSG)
A conclusion is a "reasoned" deduction. Through the powers of mental focus and processing, we come to some type of "reason" for what it is we saw. It may not be accurate, but because we process what we saw or heard through the "filters" we have formed in our minds, we come to a conclusion which is what we "believe" about the situation. The problem with the use of "reasoned" deduction is inherent in the fact we often "miss" much of what is said, done, and heard. We are imperfect at "picking up the clues" which help us to form more rational reasoning - that which is truer to truth.
Our senses play an important part in helping us to "filter" things which come into our brains and bodies. For example, if we taste something bitter and totally foul, we often reject it as unwise to take into our bodies. If we hear nails against a chalkboard, we quickly turn away, hoping to avoid the unpleasantness of the squealing annoyance. Our senses are important in protecting us from things which may not be good for us, but they are equally as important in helping us to determine what is. We might smell the fresh baked bread as we walk into the house after a day at work and know dinner will be awesomely great tonight! Or we could be driving by the peaceful lake, taking in the scents and scenes of serenity and find ourselves just pulled to relax a little.
What we don't realize is how often we simply rely upon our "sensual" filters to help us interpret life. When these are the only filters we use, we find ourselves making decisions which border on dangerous and interpret intake in ways we have come to believe through past experiences. Not every experience gives us an accurate interpretation of what the truth about something is, though. For example, if the first time you go out on a boat you get a little sick to your stomach, you might come to form the opinion that all boats will make you seasick. The truth is, bigger boats "ride" differently in the water than smaller ones and ships "ride" differently than those. The conclusion that all boats will make us seasick will keep us from experiencing some of the enjoyment of being on the water!
The most important thing we can take away from our lesson today is to have accurate "filters" by which we form our "conclusions". We need balance. God gave us our senses to help us take in information and experience life. He also gave us his Word, the Holy Spirit, and our conscience to help us "filter" out the bad and accept the good. We need to balance sensual intake with what we know to be true in the Word, receive as confirmation from the Holy Spirit, and which won't bring a niggling of our conscience. What we see and hear is not always truth - we need "intake" to be filtered through all three of these God-provided filters in order to avoid jumping to conclusions which may end us up in the drink! Just sayin!