He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13 (NKJV)
Some of us may be old enough to remember the television show in the sixties where the lead character was a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department. His name was Sergeant Joe Friday, and when he and his partner Officer Gannon were investigating a crime that was committed, they would encounter a witness who had knowledge of the crime. As the witness began giving an account of what they saw; the witness would sometimes become distracted, and would stray from communicating their eyewitness description of what had just transpired: Sergeant Joe Friday would jump in and immediately say, “Just the facts, ma’am!” He needed to get all of the information before he could begin to come to a conclusion as to what happened at the crime scene.
Imagine if he tried to form a conclusion before he received all of the FACTS. Imagine how distorted his conclusion would be. Someone might have been falsely accused. Someone might end up going to jail for a crime they did not commit. Or, someone might even have gotten the death penalty; just because Sergeant Joe Friday answered a matter before he got all of the facts.
Just think how many times we begin to spout off our big mouths, and give our opinions about a matter before we even know a tiny amount of the FACTS. Just look how foolish we look. It is a crying shame how many of us are so quick to judge a situation before we take the time to investigate the matter. When we rush to judgment without the facts, we are possibly creating a situation that will cause someone to be treated wrong. It is high time we take time to research the matter, so that we will not look foolish.
Furthermore, the Bible says that the individual who is quick to spout off his/her opinions to a matter that he or she has not fully heard or who has not heard anything at all, is a fool. The Hebrew word for “folly,” is “ʾiwwelet” which means “stupidity,” “fool,” “Foolishness;” Now I know none of us want to be called “stupid.”
Too often, some will hear a small piece of something from someone, and the next thing you know, the wheels in their head have already begun leaping to conclusions based upon their past association or knowledge of someone or something. God does not want anyone to form an opinion based upon their past association or knowledge of. Think about who gave you the information in the first place. Are they information peddlers? It is not your responsibility to pass along something that may cause serious damage to someone. Think about the harm you can cause someone because you could not keep your mouth shut! (I’ve always learned that you “cannot un-ring a bell; once it’s out there, it’s out there.”) Think about the backtracking you need to do in order to apologize for the carelessness of your actions. Think about how you feel when someone forms an opinion or jumps to a conclusion about you that is not true at all. Think about if someone assassinates your character based upon “how you used to be,” because they heard something that was not even true, but you are no longer like you used to be, because the Lord has saved you! It should make everyone stop and say to themselves, “Just the Facts…”
If you happen to be one who is prone to either shoot off your mouth or take a small amount of information from someone and forms an opinion, the Bible calls you a fool (Proverbs 18:13).
Your servant in Christ,