Be careful of the stones you throw | Faith | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | January 22, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: January 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm
Just recently a news story was unveiled internationally that hit Colleton County by surprise. There were reactions of mixed feelings from many. However, some reactions were very strong and very disparaging.
When a news story breaks, one thing that we all need to realize is that the media has a very important job to do, and that is to report the news as it is given to them and/or as they observe it. In this story, as in any other story that involves the commission of a crime, the facts presented have to be proven in a court of law.
Some of us are so quick to “throw the book” as if we are in the positions of the prosecution, the defense, and the judge. Matthew 7:1-5 (ESV) says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Further, James 4:12 affirms, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” My brothers and sisters, this is what thus says the Lord, not what I say.
It is only natural that this news story was very devastating to me, because I know the accused and some of her family members. However, I know nothing about her except the positive and kind demeanor that she always exhibited every time I had been around her. Therefore, instead of condemning her, I did what my God led me to do as any Christian ought to do: I prayed for her, the daughter she raised, her family, and the other affected families.
When the crime was committed, none of us were there. We have to be careful of the stones that we throw, and let the law and the Lord take care of this situation. There is a family who is very elated right now because their 18 years of praying has given them a positive outcome. However, there is another family out there who is confused, hurting very deeply, facing public scrutiny, and is suffering through the questions of, “What really happened,” and “What is going to happen to our loved one?” Again, be careful of the stones you throw because it is their day today; it could very well be yours tomorrow. Whatever the situation, it is not yours to fix or handle.
Almost 14 months ago, I received some devastating news about two of my sons that shook me to the very foundation of my heart and soul. According to the media, they had allegedly committed a crime. The news went viral on social media. Some of the comments about them and my youngest son’s college classmate hurt me to the core … I had to ignore the “court of public opinion,” focus on my sons and what they were going through, and go on with my life as God required me to do. I told the three of them: “God was there; He heard all, saw all and knows all.” Prayer, genuine love, and support — not condemnation — have gotten us through to this point and will take us through to the end. Thank God for Jesus!
I am by no means upholding anyone in wrongdoing, but it is still not for us to decide about what actually happened, what should take place from this point on, nor to judge the accused. None of us is perfect, but as Christians, we should strive for perfection.
There’s a story about judging, “The Dirty Laundry,” that my mother told me when I was a young girl. I found a copy of it, and I want to leave it with you to reflect upon and share:
“A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside. ‘That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap,’” she said. Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
“Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments. A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, ‘Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?’”
“The husband replied, ‘I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.’”
“And so it is with life … What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. So don’t be too quick to judge others, especially if your perspective of life is clouded by anger, jealousy, negativity or unfulfilled desires.”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)