Friday, September 2, 2011

False Accusations

Have you ever accidentally made false charges against anyone? It’s easy to do. You can see or hear something, think you know what’s going on, and you pass it along. That happened to Elizabeth. She was walking by her neighbor’s home when Mr. Jones ran out of the house. He raced to his car, squealed as he backed out of the driveway, and tore off down the street. Mrs. Jones came out on the front porch looking upset, but her husband was long gone. Elizabeth, embarrassed, hurried home. She told her sister that Mr. Jones was driving like a maniac, like someone who’d been drinking. She also reported that Mrs. Jones was really upset with him. Maybe they were getting a divorce.

That night at supper, Elizabeth repeated her story. Her mom scowled, then replied, “You’ve made some serious charges. And you couldn’t be more wrong.” Elizabeth’s face grew warm as her mom explained what had happened. “Mrs. Jones called and asked us to pray for her husband’s father. They got a call this afternoon that he’d had a heart attack. You witnessed Mr. Jones racing off to the hospital, hoping to see his father before he went into surgery.” Ashamed of the rumor she’d started, Elizabeth hung her head.

People often jump to conclusions, many of them false. When you see something that makes you curious, don’t try to be a mind reader. Don’t assume bad motives or reasons for what people say or do. Then you’ll be less likely to make false accusations. Wrong thinking and guess work (like Elizabeth’s) lead to making false charges. Instead, pray about things you see, and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then others will do that for you! “Keep far away from falsely charging anyone with evil.” Exodus 23:7 (NLT)

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