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Don't Rush to Conclusions

Proverbs 18:17 (ESV) – The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

The first child who comes to tell on their friend or sibling, usually appears right. They get the chance to make the accusation. Their story helps form the opinion of the person listening. But then when the other child (the one being told on) comes and shares their side, often there is an element of doubt thrown on the first story. Maybe they didn’t share the whole story. Perhaps they were the actual guilty ones. 

Our passage today points to this reality in life. It doesn’t stop happening with childhood. We still hear stories about things in the world and the first story we hear often shapes our opinions. But the proverb today tells us, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” 

This passage warns us not to take the first story as the absolute truth. Before we make conclusions or jump to action, we need to hear other sides of the story. Before we declare somebody guilty of something, we should let them share their side of the story. In the court of law, this is exactly why we give both sides a chance to make their case. We don’t adjudicate the case after the first side shares. Why? Because they would undoubtedly win the case. It would be one-sided. 

This is applicable in all sorts of ways. On social media, don’t jump to conclusions until you know the full story. It is the same with parenting, marriage, and many other scenarios. If we want to gain wisdom, we reserve judgment until we hear more from both sides. Those who want to be godly operate by this principle of the Word.

Reflection & Journal:
- What are some scenarios you’ve seen where people make snap judgments only to be proven wrong?
- How can we avoid rushing to quick judgment on the first story we hear?
- Why is it a mark of godliness and wisdom to wait before rushing into judgment? Why is it the mark of fools to do otherwise?

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