Generally I don’t pick up hitchhikers but I made an exception that day.
I was filling up the gas tank in Luxembourg after a wedding, getting ready to head back to France. A young fellow was going to the cars waiting in line at the gas tanks to see if any of those with French plates would give him a ride to Paris
I was going a good bit of the way, so, why not? I found that he was a Brazilian student in Paris who had been traveling around Europe that summer. He knew how to get people to give him a ride and I was amazed at the places he’d been “riding his thumb.”
We talked about the Lord and I shared Christ with him. Somewhere in our conversation he mentioned that he had lost his glasses and would have to get some more in Paris.
I let him out in Reims, about two hours from his destination, and turned towards Epernay. He continued on the autoroute.
Later, I looked for my reading glasses. They weren’t where I thought I had left them. I looked all over in the car and nyet! Nothing! I had paid a lot more for those glasses than I had originally intended to and I sure didn’t want to lose them.
Then I remembered the young man’s comment about needing to get new glasses and put two and two together. I was a bit burned. Though I wasn’t sure, it seemed logical that he has seen them lying on the seat and picked them up with his things. What a way to say thanks, I thought.
I wrote it off to being more careful next time.
A few Saturdays ago, I was in Belfort, France to preach. While waiting in the train station parking lot for the pastor of the church, I was digging around in the dash pocket of the car, looking for something. I dug deeper than I had for nine months, evidently, because there, way in the back were …. tah, dah, tah, dah, ta dum … my reading glasses!
One of my reactions was joy because those things had cost me $250 but the other one was shame. I had blamed the Brazilian student for nine months and he had nothing to do with it.
Judge, Jury, Executioner
How many times are we guilty of being judge, jury and executioner for other people? We judge their motives. We think we know what they think. We’re sensitive and get mad without understanding them or the situation.
Because things seem that way, we just assume it’s so and we act in consequence.
Have you ever wondered why the Lord told us not to take vengeance? Because the avenger takes God’s place. He assumes that he knows the situation absolutely and can mete out justice or punishment perfectly. I can’t do that, can you?
It’s been a long time since I really saw inside someone’s heart.
The other reason we can’t judge is that even if we’re right about the other person’s errors, how many times have we been wrong? Have we ever hurt someone else? Have we ever deserved God’s punishment and He gave us mercy instead?
Then how can I decide to punish another person by my actions?
“Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it.’ Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” (Rom. 12:19-21, The Message)
Sorry my young friend. I misjudged you.
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (From. Matthew six, the Message Bible)