If you have ever judged a situation before you had all of the facts, then you are in good company.
I know I have been guilty of that very thing!
When hubby, Rick and I lived in Dallas, he was working a job at a very large church as the switchboard operator. This was perfect for a seminary student because he could study and answer phones at the same time.
One evening while Rick was working, a woman walked in with a gift and announced that it was something special for the pastor.
About that time, the lead pastor walked into the room, took one look at the woman and told her that under no uncertain terms was she welcome in the church and to take her gift and never return.
Rick was shocked at the pastor’s behavior and when he arrived at home and relayed the incident to me, I was as well!
We could not believe that this pastor would behave this way and we weren’t sure what we should do about it so we decided that Rick would write him a letter explaining how this had bothered him.
After receiving the letter, the pastor called Rick into his office and explained the circumstances that preceded this particular encounter.
Evidently, when the pastor was working at a church in Florida, this woman was a single mother attending the church with her son.
Since the boy had no father actively involved in his life, the pastor decided to invest time in coming alongside him and filling in some of the gaps.
Unbeknownst to the pastor, the mother of the boy was unfortunately, extremely mentally unstable and she developed a strong attraction to the pastor.
She began to stalk him at his office with gifts and peek in his windows at home. He could not escape her until finally he was able to secure this next pastorate in Dallas.
This did not stop her and she moved to Dallas and began to follow him there as well.
Steps had to be taken to get a restraining order against this woman, which is unfortunate but necessary for him, his family and the church.
Of course, Rick and I had been offended and he had written the letter without knowing the rest of the story. This information certainly cleared things up!
It is a sad commentary on human nature that we are too often too quick to weigh in on matters which we lack sufficient facts to earn the right to give input.
It would have been much wiser to handle our situation with a different approach. Rather than expressing shock towards the pastor’s behavior, Rick could have made an appointment and asked the pastor for a defense of his actions.
We learned from this that listening and asking questions is a far better approach than making a hasty judgment.
How often are we as people guilty of jumping to conclusions about individuals or situations of which we know very little about?
I see much of this on social media. Everyone seems to have opinions on tidbits of information without researching and informing themselves on what the issues really are. We love to be the advocate, the crusader and feel quite justified and proud of our proclamations.
It may seem innocent enough but our words and actions can result in making us look foolish or can create huger issues that may cost someone their job or reputation.
If we are wise, we will always learn that there is more than one side to a story and there is always more than one opinion on any given issue.
If we are observant, we will consider the source.
If we are an honest person, we will want truth and not hype. We will be humble to admit that though we would love the gossip to down our foe, or some morsel to support our opinion, it may be that we are the one to be addressed.
Proverbs is full of admonitions to be wise and honest, such as:
Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.”
And these in chapter 10:
14 “Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.”
18″ He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.
19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.”
21″ The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding.”
If we seek truth, we will find it. If we desire wisdom it can be obtained.
The honest question we must ask ourselves is whether that is what we really want or would we rather play the fool?