Are You Jumping to Conclusions?

Warning: I’m going to disclose some information in this post that will be very misleading unless you read the entire article.  Enjoy.

It’s no secret that I’m a Christian.  I regularly participate in activities that help me grow in my faith.  This includes daily prayer and Bible reading, journaling, attending church, meeting with guy friends for accountability, plus more.

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I’m happily married, I love my children, and I believe in leading by example.

All this said, I must confess that I’ve been to a strip club.  It’s true.  I have been inside a strip club before.  Not only that, I lead a group of friends into the strip club with me.  Their attendance in this strip club is 100% my fault.

If that’s where you stop, you might think I’m a pervert, a hypocrite, creepy, or worse: fake.  Yet, what if there’s more to the story?

Here’s what happened.  I was traveling with a group I worked with while in Chiropractic school.  After the event we hosted that evening, the group I was with decided to go downtown and find a place to eat.  While walking, I heard Michael Jackson music playing and I started dancing.  So I suggested to our team that we should check this place out and started for the door.  The strip club had an unassuming name suggesting it was a restaurant with a sports theme.  So in I walked.  I heard Michael Jackson music and was very excited to eat in a place with such fun music.

Then, I noticed a stage with polls on it and servers walking around in really short shorts and sports bra looking tops.  Fortunately, I didn’t see any naked people.  As soon as a I realized where I was, I walked out of the club.

There’s my admission.  I can’t look my wife or anyone else in the face and honestly say I’ve never stepped foot in a strip club.  But doesn’t the background of the story change it?  Doesn’t the context change the meaning?  This reminds me of another story.

I was walking through a grocery store and saw two kids throwing a royal fit. It was so bad.  I remember thinking to myself, “Lady, you need to get a grip!”  These kids are going to wreak havoc on her sanity and they’re going to have a terrible time in life.  I was angry with her, too, because of how her kids’ behavior was impacting the shopping experience of everyone else in the store.

When I approached the check out lane, I picked the one with the shortest line.  Invariably, I found myself behind this woman and her unruly children.  While my heart was seething with judgement, I head the woman, clearly frazzled and in tears, explain to the store clerk, “I’m so sorry about my kids.  It’s been a rough week.  My husband just left us to be with his secretary, and I just found out my breast cancer is out of remission.  I’m doing the best I can!”

In an instant, my heart changed from judgement to compassion.  The only thing that was different, though, was the information I received.  So just like my story above has a totally different meaning when you find out I didn’t intentionally go to a strip club, the reaction we have to this woman is also very different when we discover there may be a reason for her children’s behavior.

Bottom line: we should suspend judgement until we’re better informed.  What are some times in your life where you’ve prematurely passed judgement only to find out with more information you drew the wrong conclusion?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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