Arriving at Conclusions

Arriving at Conclusions

F. W. Schwartz

My mind is made up. Please do not confuse me with facts! The words were displayed above an office desk. The first time they were seen they left little impression. They were merely someone’s attempt at pleasantry, and were quickly dismissed. But seen again in several places they seemed to clamour for attention, until we found ourselves asking “Do they actually represent the attitude of some people?” We concluded that they DO! And recent observations confirm the fear that some Christians, too often, display exactly that attitude, even where matters of considerable importance are involved.

Disparaging rumors reach them regarding someone in whom they had had confidence. Without investigation they are believed. A few FACTS, easily obtained, might show the rumors to be entirely false, or at least “colored.” But their minds are made up! and, convinced themselves, they set about to convince others. Unfair whisperings and cynical detractions are given added publicity. And so the defilement spreads. As Christians, do we not need to be constantly on our guard against a too ready acceptance of what we hear? And should we not be scrupulously careful as to what and how much we repeat?

Again, questions every now and then arise as to the rightness or wrongness of certain courses of action. A simple appeal to Scripture is suggested, that the FACTS as to its teaching may be ascertained. But we are told that “We don’t need any Scripture!” (Yes, to our personal knowledge that has more than once been said, and that by men who supposedly are “standing for the truth!”) Their minds are made up — in a sadly regrettable way — prior to and apart from any real study or investigation.

Too often decisions are made to depend on anything but facts, or on facts insufficiently considered. Meagre information, shallow reasoning, ill-conceived interpretations, and even suspicions or prejudices, are allowed to determine the course of action. The results are deplorable. God is dishonoured, His people are grieved and the world looks on in perplexity, if not in actual scorn.

There is a real need for each of us to ask himself, “How do I arrive at my conclusions?” Are they squarely based on facts, clearly established and properly understood? If Christian principles or practices are involved, is due consideration given to the teaching of the Word of God? And have we considered that teaching in its context and determined what is its clear intention? Suppositions and half-truths are no material for sound decisions. A mind “made up” on such a flimsy basis is a mind in a fog. If it succeeds in imposing its views on other minds it produces nothing but perplexity, confusion and strife. Have we not had enough of these?