Jumping To Conclusions

Jon Burgess


“As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.” ‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭28:3-6‬


How silly right? To go from believing a man is murderer to believing he is a god within minutes is a baffling shift in decision making. Just as I was about to move on with my judgment of these simple-minded islanders I realized I am one of them! The only reason I wouldn't have jumped to that conclusion is because I have an advantage these guys didn't have- I know Paul's story. I've been following Gods work in his life from before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. I've witnessed his radical conversion from persecutor of the church to persecuted for the church! Of course I know he is neither a murderer nor a god. It's the power of knowing Paul's back story that keeps me from jumping to conclusions based on circumstantial evidence.


What's their story? That's a good question to ask when I'm about to proclaim someone a murderer or a god. How quick am I to do exactly what the locals did with Paul when it comes to judging someone I don't know? Their conclusion would have seemed totally logical based upon the information they had but as we know they were totally off. How often do I look at the circumstantial evidence and jump to a conclusion arriving at a snap judgment? How they dress, talk, act and the people they are surrounded by is circumstantial. What bad things have happened to them, what others have said about them, how briefly I've known them is all circumstantial. How many times have I missed an Apostle Paul standing right in front of me because I don't take time to know their story before condemning their story or praising it? Wendy Mass put it this way, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."


Lord forgive me for jumping to conclusions when it comes to people in my life. Forgive me for sound bite assumptions and shallow opinions when it comes to real people that You really died for! Let me live in such a way that I love people enough to hear their stories so I can share Your story with them.

Devotions for October 27

Job 18
Psalms 114
Acts 27,28

Start Doing Devotions

Devotions are an important part of everyday life. Click here to learn how to do devotions.