It really was innocent, but it looked scandalous.
Let me take you back to my last winter youth retreat in my “cult”. I was super close to being out. In fact, I was already a closet rebel as this story will confirm. 😉
Our church had rented this small Christian camp for years, both for family camps and youth retreats. I loved the rustic chapel with its fireplace and knotty pine beams. I thought I knew every crook and cranny until my friend’s younger brother asked me if I’d ever seen the attic. Apparently there was a secret staircase in a closet that led up to a small storage area.
Always up for adventure, I decided to let him show me. Just going up to the attic together was sketchy because it was a boy and girl alone. But things got worse from there.
For some reason the closet door was located about two feet off the floor and the closet was filled with old televisions and other junk. So we had to climb over and around to reach the stairs. Going in wasn’t a problem. But my long, straight, denim skirt became an issue on the way out. I tripped over a television, my legs got trapped in my skirt, and I fell out of the door. Fortunately, Dan was there to catch me. But that catch was another shocking sin because he was a boy and he touched me!
It would have been fine, but as we turned and he set me down, we were face to face with a young, all-in, super committed girl from the youth group. Her eyes and mouth were wide open. The realization of what it looked like struck us. We started laughing so hard we couldn’t even breathe let alone explain.
Christy and Dan were alone in the closet and came out touching each other and giggling!!!
It’s a funny story, but we all do it. We make snap judgments and condemn people without knowing all the facts.
Years later, I was out of my cult and working at summer camp. Normally I worked on the elementary camp, but today I was up at the high school camp helping my friend teach a choreography to some of the older campers. It was an elective drama class and there was one boy. I knew why he was there. Girls! He must be a total player with terrible motives. What a jerk. I only spent an hour with this guy, but he made such a strong impression on me that I can still remember what he was wearing.
Four years later I married him.
I have come to discover that my perspective is just that, my perspective. In order to get a clear and accurate picture, I need multiple perspectives and all of the facts. It’s easy for us to feel wise and discerning, but we are not infallible. We need community, and we all need grace.
Will you join me? Let’s give grace before judgement. Let’s listen before we condemn.
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” ~ Jesus, (John 7:24 NLT).