Monday, April 25, 2016

When You Don't Know The Whole Story

Meet the wolf. Alexander T. Wolf to be exact. And he has a story to tell.
As I combed through Grace's books this month, trying to decide on a column idea, I came across one of our favorites, "The TRUE Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Jon Scieskza. It was a gift from Kyle's aunt, Kathy, to Grace on her birthday one year.
Everyone knows the story of The Three Little Pigs. Each one builds a house, one of straw, one of sticks and one of bricks. The wolf comes to visit each one, and by "huffing and puffing" manages to blow down the first two houses rather easily. However, he can't manage to blow down the brick house, and the moral of the story is that you should build your life on a firm foundation with solid materials.
And that's exactly how this book starts out, "Everyone knows the story of The Three Little Pigs. Or at least they think they do. But I'll let you in on a little secret. Nobody knows the real story, because nobody has ever heard my side of the story."
Alexander T. Wolf goes on to introduce himself to readers, and questions how the whole "Big Bad Wolf" rumors got started.
"Maybe it's because of our diet. Hey it's not my fault wolves eat cute little animals like bunnies and sheep and pigs. That's just the way we are. If cheeseburgers were cute, folks would probably think you were Big and Bad too."
Al goes on to say that the real story is about a sneeze and a cup of sugar. You see, he's making a cake for his "dear sweet old granny's birthday," when he runs out of sugar. So, he goes to his neighbor's house to borrow a cup.
"Now this neighbor was a pig. And he wasn't too bright either. He had built his whole house of straw."
Upon arriving, Al finds that no one will answer the door. Just as he is about to leave, he feels a sneeze coming on, and the whole straw house falls down. And in the middle of the mess, he finds the first little pig, dead as a doornail.
"It seemed like a shame to leave a perfectly good ham dinner just lying there in the straw. So I ate it up. Think of it as a big cheeseburger just lying there."
And wouldn't you know it, but the exact same thing happens at the second neighbor's house, so Al eats him up too.
When he arrives at the third little pig's house, it's made of bricks, and this pig won't loan him a cup of sugar. After besmirching the name of his "dear sweet old granny," Al goes a little crazy. He starts huffing and snuffing and sneezing and making a real scene.
By the end of the story, poor Al has landed himself in jail, still without his cup of sugar, and has been officially labelled as the "Big Bad Wolf."
"That's it, the real story. I was framed."
Whether or not you choose to believe Al's version of the story, it's a great reminder that there are always two sides to every story. We shouldn't be so hasty and rush to judgement about someone or something, based solely on what we hear or read on Facebook.
Maybe Al made the whole thing up. Maybe he's rightly serving his time in jail, still awaiting that cup of sugar. But it's still not our place to judge Al, no matter what we really think of him.
We live in the age of instant news, and not always reputable news sources. Some media outlets jump to conclusions just to be the first to share a story. And while stories can be corrected, most times the damage to someone's reputation can't be undone.
As I go about my daily life, I sometimes find myself quick to judge someone else about their choices. When I stop to remember the love and compassion that Jesus showed to everyone, it's a little easier to take a step back and remember that I don't always know the whole story.
Instead of being quick to judge someone, I'm going to practice stopping to say a prayer for them and their particular situation. I know that's what I would want someone to do for me.

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