“Do you know what I saw?” asked Mary excitedly, when she saw Susan.
“No, what?” replied Susan.
“I saw pastor Bill going into the theater with his son this afternoon. I don’t know what was playing but I don’t think it was good.”
“What? Are you serious?” exclaimed Susan. “I can’t believe that pastor Bill would go to a theater and take his son too! Just wait till I tell mother.”
When Susan got home she called, “Mom. Do you know what Mary said? She said that pastor Bill took his son to see a movie this afternoon. Can you imagine?”
“You’re kidding!” Exclaimed mother in surprise. “I never thought pastor Bill would do a thing like that.”
“Especially after what he said last week about how dangerous movies are.” Said Susan thoughtfully. Then she thought to herself that maybe what he had said about movies wasn’t really true after all.
That night at supper the family discussed pastor Bill going to movies when he talked about how bad most movies were for your mind.
“The one he went to certainly wasn’t a good one.” Stated Susan.
“It’s so sad,” said mother. “I thought he was such a good pastor and very sincere too. Doesn’t seem like anyone really follows the Lord anymore.”
”True,” said father. “I guess he is what you call a hypocrite.”
Later that evening father called another member of the church and discussed the occurrence with him. This member discussed it with another and by the next Sabbath everyone in the church knew that pastor Bill regularly attended R rated movies with his son. The young people really talked about the situation lot because they had been disturbed by pastor Bill’s talks about the dangers of movies and theater going, but now they thought it couldn’t be nearly so bad as he had said if he attended them himself. The older persons in the church were wondering what should be done about a pastor who didn’t practice what he preached.
The next Sabbath when pastor Bill got up to preach the sermon he began. “I’ve decided to share some educational, Christian videos with the young people of this church. I had the videos but could not get them to play on our equipment here because they are formatted wrong. The best man in town at reformatting videos is the is the theater owner, so I went to his office in the theater to ask him to do it for me. He agreed to do one of them and showed my son how to do it for the rest of them. I apologize for taking my son into the theater to see this man as it really gave the wrong impression to the church. I do not attend movies or make it a practice to take my son to them and I should have asked the man to come to my office rather than going to his. It says in the Bible that we should avoid even the appearance of evil and I failed to avoid that appearance.”
Jane got on the train and took her seat. The car was crowded with passengers and every time the train stopped it seemed like more passengers got on than got off.
After several stops, a well dressed woman took the empty seat beside Jane. Jane smiled and they said hello.
The woman was a complete stranger and so the two didn’t say very much to each other.
Jane was absorbed in watching the scenery go by outside and thinking about the school where she would be teaching in the fall. She had just gotten her teaching certificate and had been offered a job for the coming year. Not everyone who had just gotten their certificate was offered a job so soon and she was excited about it.
She hardly notice when the woman called the porter and asked for a drink. When the porter brought a bottle of beer, the woman took it and turning to Jane said. “Here, please hold this while I get my money out of my purse.”
Jane took the bottle reluctantly and looked at it with distaste. She didn’t know anyone would want to drink the stuff. She was glad when the woman finished paying the porter and took the bottle back.
Jane got off the train at the next stop and forgot the incident. But someone who knew her had passed in the isle while she was holding that bottle and soon everyone it seemed had heard that Jane was seen drinking beer on the train. She was embarrassed and horrified when she heard the story but was heartbroken when she receive a letter from the school where she was going to teach. The letter informed her that they had decided not to hire her because they couldn’t have someone with a reputation of drinking alcohol teaching their children.
A wise man once said “No man is my friend who will either permit my name to be rudely handled in his presence, or so handle it himself, then he is ten times my enemy.”
“They say”—ah, well, suppose they do;
But can they prove the story true?
Suspicion may arise from naught
But malice, envy, want of thought;
Why count yourself among the “they”
Who whisper what they dare not say?
“They say”—but why the tale rehearse,
And help to make the matter worse?
No good can possibly accrue
From telling what may be untrue;
And is it not a nobler plan
To speak of all the best we can?
“They say”—well, if it should be so,
Why need you tell the tale of woe?
Will it the bitter wrong redress,
O make one pang of sorrow less?
Will it the erring one restore,
Henceforth to go and sin no more?
“They say”—oh, pause and look within;
See how your heart inclines to sin.
Watch! Lest in dark temptations hour
You too should sink beneath its power.
Pity the frail—weep o’er their fault;
But speak of good or not at all.