Two-Minute Meditations
Two Minute Meditations
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Rush to Judgement


    January 15, 1997 is a day Richard Jewell will not soon forget. After a roller coaster ride that began with the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, he finally has been officially declared a hero.

    Rep. Mitchell Kaye Sr. sponsored a resolution, unanimously passed by the Georgia House of Representatives, declaring Jewell a hero and a lifesaver. “Richard Jewell is a hero who deserves to be recognized,” Kaye said. “This is just a small way to say thanks from the people of Georgia.”

    When a bomb ripped apart the joy and tranquility of the Olympic games, Richard Jewell was hailed as a hero for moving people away from a suspicious looking package in the park. As time passed, however, the FBI “leaked” to the press that he was THE suspect.

    The press pounced on the story. They hounded him. They derided him. The public pronounced him guilty. He received hate phone calls from all over the world. His life was an ongoing nightmare.

    The FBI left him “on the hook” as their primary suspect. Even after passing voice analysis and lie detector tests, he was still considered a probable suspect. Richard Jewell's life, reputation, and integrity were destroyed.

    Then the FBI quietly “backed off” of him as an official suspect. Finally they released a public statement that he had been officially cleared by their investigation.
“How could this happen?”

    How could this happen? How could the leading branch of law enforcement in the world be so mistaken? How could they be so cavalier in the pursuit and character assassination of an innocent man? How could the American news media be so blatant in their “analysis” without better proof?

    Easy! We do it all the time. Before we condemn the FBI and the press, let's take a look at ourselves. How many people do we routinely pass judgment on because of the way they talk, their clothing, hairstyle, skin color, ethnic or regional background, job, or a myriad of other superficial qualities? Part of the darker side of our human nature finds it easy to rush to judgment about others, especially those who aren't packaged nicely.

    Jesus warned us to not judge others. He was specifically talking about rushing to judgment about others based on external qualities. So the next time we find ourselves analyzing someone negatively, let’s remember Richard Jewell and how easy it is to be wrong based upon a first, and even a second impression.

Matthew 7:1-2

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