Friday, June 14 2024 - 3:52 AM
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Misjudging Motives

“Dad, can I have a few more gallons of gas for my pick-up? I’m almost completely out.” My 16 year-old son has had an old 1976 Chevy pick-up since he was 12, and has driven it around our little North Dakota farmstead for a while now. Country kids often do these kinds of things on the family farm, and my son has enjoyed driving this old truck to the back woods of our property for years.

Recently though, he had begun to ask for fuel to put in his tank. He was short on cash but still wanted to be able to drive the old pickup around the property…and so I allowed him to remove some fuel from the stash that we kept in the garage for mowing our lawns. Upon the third time that he requested gas for his truck, I found myself getting a bit annoyed. He had been driving his truck every night to the back woods at sundown, and I began to privately question his use of petrol when he clearly didn’t seem to be accomplishing much on the property on his nightly excursions.

Nightly Excursions Explained

“What are you doing in the woods that would cause you to need to go up there every night? I’m not made of money ya know, and unless you’re doing something really important with that truck, I’m wondering why you need that gas so regularly.” As my cynical words rushed out carelessly, my son looked at the ground. “Seriously Michael, why are you going to the backwoods every night at around the same time?”

My son fidgeted, his hands stuffed in his jean pockets as he kicked at the dirt in the driveway. He spoke so softly that I had to strain to hear his quiet reply. “Well Dad, I go up there every night to watch the sun go down and I spend time praying.” My eyes immediately filled with tears and I couldn’t stop the lump from forming in my throat. My boy was spending time with His Creator every night in a holy place that was all his own, and I had misjudged his actions as merely wanting more gas to drive through the woods in his pickup.

Jumping to Conclusions about Motives

There are so many times in my life when I have misjudged others that I have lost count. I have jumped to conclusions about peoples’ motives, have discredited their actions, and sought to justify my self-centered indignation about what I thought they were doing. I had misjudged the motives of my only son, and my heart ached to think that I had even opened up the conversation when this soft-spoken young man had made his trivial request. My boy was using the fuel for a higher purpose, and although he could’ve walked to the backwoods, driving his pick-up was part of the spiritual routine of connecting with his Heavenly Father.

I smiled through my tears as I put my arm around his shoulders. “Son, I had no idea you spent time with God every night. I’m sorry that I even questioned you about it. Take all the gas you think you’ll need.”

Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.

If you liked this, you may also like Judgment of Others | 5 Ways We Misjudge People 

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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