It was embarrassing. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I sank down in my seat because I didn’t want them to see me. I was at the movies. I had just settled in. It was dark in the theater. The movie was about to begin. She came in and sat in front of me. I recognized her immediately. I almost said something but I didn’t.
That’s when I noticed the man she was with wasn’t her husband. I know I shouldn’t have rushed to judgment. That is something that happens far too often these days. We see something and we suddenly grab the moral high ground. There is no presumption of innocence. We become judge and jury and pronounce guilt.
I’m reminded of the movie, "The Dilemma," starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. In the film, Vince catches his best friend’s wife meeting up with another man in a clandestine rendezvous. The dilemma comes as he tries to decide whether he should say something to his friend or not.
I can tell you I did my best Vince Vaughn imitation. I got up a few times during the movie. I went to get some popcorn. A little later I ran to the rest room. Both times I tried to sneak a peek over the head-rests to confirm what I had seen. It was just too dark and I couldn’t get a clear glimpse of the couple. As the credits began to roll, I dashed out of the theater. I didn’t want her to see me and cause an awkward moment.
I raced to my car. From there I realized that I had a clear view of the entrance to the theater. So I waited. A few minutes later the couple emerged. That’s when I realized I had been wrong all along. I got all worked up over a case of mistaken identity. It wasn’t the person who I thought it was. I laughed and then I wanted to cry.
Why is it that we often jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts? Too often we are in the dark when trying to understand what we are seeing. Maybe that’s why Jesus told us that we weren’t to judge others. He told us to leave it God. God knows us inside and out and he looks at the heart, so His judgment is true and fair.
As Christians we are called to be people of grace. We have received mercy from the Lord. In Christ, God has forgiven us and given us a second chance. Can’t we at least do the same for others? Jesus warns us that in the end we will be judged in the same manner we have judged others. I don’t know about you but I’m going to leave the judging to God. I’m having a hard enough time keeping my own life in order.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.