The First Stone

When I was a young teenager, I distinctly remember walking into the Darryl’s restaurant in Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, NC, and seeing several adults who worked with my youth group at a table with what appeared to be alcoholic beverages.  Being raised Baptist, I was appalled and saddened that they would be going to hell.

My grandfather was an alcoholic so my parents chose not to drink.  I don’t mean not to drink a lot.  I mean teetotalers.  Alcohol has not pursed the lips of my father’s mouth.  And he is pushing 82.  He told me if I had lived with what he lived with as a child, I too would not partake.

I’m not sure when it hit me that you could be a Christian and also drink beer.  Or smoke.  Or even cuss.  And I guess that there are a lot of Christians doing a lot of other stuff that I would have questioned when I was 13.  In fact, I am.

The older I get, the more I realize that life is hard.  I also realize that people, none of them, not even my dad, are not perfect.

I recently gave a panhandler $5.  I’m not sure what moved me to do so.  It was cold outside, and I had cash which is unusual for me.

For a split second I wondered what he might do with the cash.  Maybe buy a six pack of PBR I thought to myself.  And then, I realized, if I was going to have to sleep outside that night, I’d likely do the same.

What makes it OK for me to assume he’s going to do something bad with MY money, which I gave to him, and not OK for him to spend it for his needs?  Is it worse for me to judge what he might do or for him to buy the beer?  I didn’t even know his situation.  Nor do I know what I’d do with $5 bucks if I was in his shoes.

I become exhausted with myself condemning others while I, on my very, very high horse, disappoint God and others on a quite frequent basis.  I become exhausted with others for that too.

The older I get the more I find myself wanting to love, and the more agitated I get when I hear racial bias or prejudice against gays or a lack of love for an addict.  Maybe it is because I clearly see all the junk I do wrong.  I believe in the bible it says something like let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

I’m going to try to hold on to my rocks.

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  1. Paula

     /  April 3, 2019

    Fabulous…there’s something about getting older that, if you’re blessed, forces what’s truly important into sharper focus. Here’s to having 20/20 vision someday!

  2. Lyndsey

     /  April 3, 2019

    I read all your posts but rarely comment, all I got to say is this is the best post I’ve read in a long time! Thank you!!!!!

  3. Wayne H

     /  April 3, 2019

    The problem is not being Baptist. The problem is fear of being an addictive personality. As a Baptist minister I have no problem with Baptist who drink socially….if you marked off all who drank or danced…another outdated Baptist “sin”…we’d be the smallest denomination around. The problem lies elsewhere…in your heart. And only you control that…if you inherit all my millions (?) and don’t use it wisely you you are in the same boat as the beggar who who uses your $5 for a bottle of cheap wine. You got it right. He’s on his own. Dad

  4. Missy Mangum

     /  April 3, 2019

    A big thank you for your post and to your father for his comment.

  5. Susan Permar

     /  April 3, 2019

    Well that was most powerful and thought provoking, from both you and Wayne.
    thank you

  6. Molly

     /  April 4, 2019

    Love this!!!!


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