Things are not always as they seem. Obviously we know that, but why do we appoint ourselves to sit on an invisible committee assigned to judge things that, most of the time, aren’t any of our business?

Several years ago on Christmas Eve I ran out of brown sugar when I was baking the last batch of treats. I had two hours to finish everything, so I dashed to the grocery store breaking my mom’s strictest rule; don’t go out without lipstick. “Surely I won’t see anyone this early in the morning,” I thought, checking for flour splatters on my old sweatshirt as I walked through the parking lot.

There must be some law, like gravity, that we can’t see but is always in force … one can’t leave the store with just what they went in for. As I was rounding the last corner in the freezer department with a cart full of what I might need in the next 24 hours, I ran into a young friend I hadn’t see in a while. I knew it, I should have a least brushed my hair.

“Oh, hi, Mrs. Brawner, so good to see you,” she said blushing. “I want you to know this is not all for me. I’m staging a home for an open house and I need to fill up a large wine rack.” There were 15 or so bottles of various wines in her cart.

I just laughed and we visited over the frozen pizza display for a few minutes.

But, as I left the store it struck me: do I come across with an air of judgement? Why did she so quickly explain her cart contents right after “Hello”? As I thought about it, I hoped she didn’t think I had become a crazy lady who, in secret, keeps 12 cats and hordes food by the way I looked and what was in my cart. It was an abrupt reminder for me that things are not always as they seem.

“Always “err”, as God does, on the side of freedom, mercy and compassion.”

~Philip Yancy

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