It was an early spring night and all seemed right in the world. The young couple was sitting alone in a parking lot, and though the air was getting warmer, the windows of the car were nonetheless foggy to a point that the windows were translucent. These teenagers sat in the car alone feeling as though no one in the world knew where they were or what they were doing. It was as though time had stopped.
After several minutes, however, headlights were seen in the near distance, and some of the kids’ friends were seen coming towards the car with toilet paper and other mischievous items in hand. After a confusing ordeal, the boy in the car put his hand on the window to alert the others he was there. The pranksters saw this and knew that though they might’ve been caught, that what they assumed of the couple was even worse. This was totally inappropriate behavior for people of their reputations…
One of the things that I’ve noticed over the past couple months is that we always assume the worst of people. Whether its Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or Tim Tebow, it seems like the world is ready for people to make a mistake – to mess up and fail.
We watch getting close or being open to some people we first meet because of things we hear about them from others. We judge people before we are even introduced to them! We assume we know motives, actions, and hearts, because we have seen this kind of “lurking” behavior before.
Think of how many amazing opportunities we have missed because we have assumed the worst from someone or something or some situation.
There are friendships we might’ve missed because we heard from a friend of a friend that they were bad news. There are lives that aren’t changed because we assumed that the life or situation the person is in can’t and won’t be changed…
But even if that is true, don’t they deserve the chance?
And don’t we deserve to give it to them?
It was March 2008 when I was found in that car with that girl. We had watched a midnight showing of a new movie that had just come out, and our friends had just dropped us off at her car. She was giving me a ride home, but we got distracted and started to talk. She was a good girl and actually had never had a boyfriend or kissed a boy at that point. But after that night, rumors went around and reputations changed… even though that night nothing happened. Even though it might’ve been our faults for putting ourselves in a situation that appeared bad, I wonder what would’ve happened if our friends just would’ve asked us and believed us on what had happened that night… To this day, I would say this is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me.
All of us have failed. All of us have fallen short. Yet God has given us a second chance. Let’s stop assuming the worst from people, and stop believing everything we hear from others – whether it’s our friends, family, co-workers, or the media. Let’s embrace those who others aren’t embracing. Let’s trust people until they themselves have given us a reason not to. And let’s realize that we have the opportunity to change a life, a family, a circumstance, and a nation by the way we perceive and judge those that we are looking at…
Because our own bitter lives are dependent on it.