Devotional Readings

Passions of the Mind

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalms 86:15.

Have you ever been judged unfairly by someone you know and love? It isn’t a pleasant experience, is it? Do you ever forget it? I never have!

About 30 years ago my husband and I were spending a quiet evening at home. He was watching sports on television, and I was lying comfortably on our sofa reading The Passions of the Mind, a story about the famous psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. The title of this paperback book was superimposed onto a cover of bright orange flames. I’m sure it was deliberately designed to be noticed on any store’s bookshelf.

Suddenly there was a knock on our front door. Looking through the foyer, I saw that our unexpected visitor was our pastor. I placed my book on the coffee table in front of me and went to the door to greet him. After his visit, I returned to my comfortable sofa to continue reading. However, my book was missing. Puzzled, I asked my husband if he had seen it.

“Oh,” he replied, “when I saw who was at the door, I threw your trashy novel in the stairwell. You wouldn’t want the pastor to know what you were reading, would you?”

It’s probably best not to share my reply to my husband! The point is, he saw the title and the bright flames on the cover of a paperback book and decided it was a trashy novel. He didn’t ask. He didn’t read the synopsis on the back cover. He just made a judgment–and then acted on erroneous information.

This seems to be the way we humans behave. However, it should not be the way Christians behave. Everyone should receive the benefit of the doubt before we speak or act. In our homes, schools, communities, and churches we often base our opinions of other people on a thread of gossip, a partially overheard conversation, or something we think we saw. Sadly, our hasty judgment divides, wounds, and hurts those whom God is tenderly seeking.

Today let’s determine that we will find out all the facts before jumping to any conclusion. And even if we find we are correct in our judgment, let’s still give that person love, kindness, and understanding in the name of Jesus–just as He has so mercifully given to us.

–Ellie Green

from A Word from Home
Ardis Stenbakken (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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