The missionaries I worked and lived with in Monterrey, Mexico, when I was a single missionary invited a young couple to come and present their ministry at our Thursday evening prayer service. Because the young wife and her little baby looked so tired, I offered to let them use my bedroom to rest before the evening service.
The young pastor preached that evening and then they returned to their lodging. I thought nothing more of it until the next morning when I was getting ready to attend a local Bible conference. I looked for my iron but couldn’t find it anywhere. I asked the missionary wife if she had seen my iron, but she said she had not.
Then I asked, “You don’t suppose that young missionary wife would have taken my iron when I let her stay in my room yesterday?” “I’m sure she did!” the missionary wife cxclaimed. “These people are very poor. She probably saw your iron and was tempted to take it. That’s why God doesn’t bless their ministry!”
I wasn’t convinced, but I knew the young couple would be attending the same Bible conference that morning. I decided to test the young wife by greeting her and seeing how she responded. When I saw her walking toward me at the conference, I smiled and said enthusiastically, “Buenos dias!” She barely replied before scurrying away rapidly.
“Guilty!” I thought grimly. “She knows I know she stole my iron and now she’s too embarrassed to talk to me. Christian workers are always disappointing me!” I felt rather sad. It wasn’t that I missed my iron so much. I was not and am not very fond of ironing! It was the thought of someone in full-time Christian service being dishonest.
Time past. I bought another iron. I forgot about The Case of the Missing Iron and the Guilty-Looking Young Pastor’s Wife. One day I decided to clean under my bed. I did not have a lot of storage space so often kept things under the bed. I flipped the mattress up and, lo and behold, in the middle of the stored things under my bed was my missing iron! I don’t know how it got there. I don’t remember ever storing the iron under the bed, but there it was!
I yelled for the missionary wife to come to my room. She came running not knowing what to expect. “Look!” I cried and pointed to the iron sitting there innocently on the floor. “That pastor’s wife never stole my iron. It has been under the bed this whole time!”
I felt so guilty for condemning that innocent woman. I had taken her to court and pronounced her guilty without ever letting her testify. She never knew all the bad thoughts I thought about her. I had allowed the circumstances and another person’s opinion to convince me of her guilt without proof.
When I was 14 years old, I got contacts for the first time. Back then very near-sighted people like me used hard lenses. They were difficult to get used. At first I felt like they could fall out of my eyes at any moment so unconsciously I began to tilt my head up when I walked around to help keep my contacts from falling out! One of my friends told me, “The other girls are talking bad about you. They say you are so stuck up because you always walk around with your nose up in the air!”
God knew my heart. I did not feel superior in high school. If anything I battled feeling inferior. I was just holding my head funny to keep my new contacts in place. Yet there I was judged and condemned by my peers.
It’s so easy to judge and condemn others without knowing all the facts. Who am I to go around passing judgment on others anyway? It’s so liberating when I leave the judging to the only One qualified to do the judging! I don’t have to settle cases in the People’s Court. I can let God’s Supreme Court make all the decisions!
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth…” Roamns 14:4