They ridiculed and mocked him.
At the local cafe, my friend and I enjoyed a cup of coffee as we talked about a woman we both know. In my opinion, our mutual friend had been making poor life choices. I was extremely frustrated with her latest decision and I said a few things that I probably wouldn’t have said if she had been sitting there with us. Afterward, I drove home, winding my way up to my cottage. The trees that lined the road were ablaze with fiery red and orange leaves—filling my heart with joy.
“Sparrow,” God said as I slowed down for a hairpin curve.
“Yes, God?” I answered.
“Remember the soldiers who mocked Jesus?” He asked.
“Of course. They were terrible men,” I said.
“They didn’t know the truth about Jesus,” He explained. “You don’t know the truth about your friend. You don’t know the fear that drives her.”
My joy instantly vanished, an uneasiness now rising up inside of me.
“Am I like the soldiers who mocked Jesus?” I asked, afraid to hear the answer.
“Everyone has the capability to be judgemental and cruel. But I hope that next time you’ll extend compassion instead.”
I slowed down the car again as a deer ran across the road. How careful I was to avoid hitting her, yet with my words, I had run over a friend. “I’m sorry, God,” I said. “I’ll remember the soldiers the next time I want to share my negative opinions about someone. I’ll remember that I don’t know the truth, and I’ll do my best to feel compassion instead of judgment.”
A gust of wind picked up a pile of leaves and sent them somersaulting across the road ahead of me. I watched them swirl and dance in the air. I felt God’s forgiveness wash over my heart. “Thank you, Father,” I whispered. “Thank you.”