Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lessons Learned, Day 1

Last week was the first time I totally whiffed on a Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy blog tour, featuring The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers. I felt bad about it, but some things were going on that took away any spare attention I had (aside from work and family), and I hadn't read the book. Anyway, I heard good things about it, and should perhaps check it out.

One thing that came out of the events of last week: I learned an important lesson, and it made me think about other lessons I've learned through the year. Sounds like fertile ground for a series of blog posts!

Lesson #1 - We are quick to judge

There is a local case of some young men being charged with some crimes. Normally, I would shake my head and condemn such hooligans, and move on with life. In this case, I knew one of the men well, and was sure that he wouldn't be party to such things. Through the week news started to trickle out that brought a question to many of the charges, especially why the one young man was even included in this event.

The reaction from the community has been ugly. Most people are doing what *I* would have done, namely condemning the men and slandering them with nasty comments. The internet doesn't help things, between people leaving comments on articles from local news sites to Facebook. On one news site I posted a comment regarding people being innocent until proven guilty. That...didn't go over well. I reiterated the point, and another reader wrote, "your position is admirable but not practical in our society."

Is that sad, or what?

In this instance, I believe I have inside information that makes me see the case opposite of many people. I have been disheartened by the responses, but I have to confess I would be making similar judgments if not for my familiarity with one of the accused and the case.

Certainly victims of crimes should be treated with respect and taken seriously. I worry though that our instant culture has produced instant judgment. The due process of our judicial system isn't given a chance to work. No matter what comes out later on in this case, there will be a taint on these men.

It makes me realize that I should slow down, consider both sides, and realize a couple of things:
1. I don't have all the information.

2. I am not the final arbiter. Ultimately God is. He knows the hearts of the accusers, the accused, and me as I judge them all.

There is a corollary to this lesson, and I'll share that in the next blog post.

Lord, help me to judge not, lest I am judged. We are so quick with our opinion in this internet age, when it is easy to spread it out quickly and often without consequence as we hide behind "screen names." Help me to see with Your perspective when I am presented with a judgment call, to know Your heart above all.

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