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Hasty Judgment Leads to Resentment

Several years ago I was moved by the writings of three well-known Christian authors, one of them being Eugene Peterson. I wrote each of them a letter expressing my appreciation for their insights into spiritual formation. I also mentioned in each note that I'd love to spend some time with them if there ever might be an opportunity to do so.

Within a few weeks I received gracious letters back from the other two authors, but I waited for my reply from Eugene Peterson. Months passed, and it never arrived. My cynical mind concluded that this man, who had written so eloquently about being an "unbusy pastor," was just too busy (or too important) to write me back.

A year later, I was speaking to a small group of people, and I mentioned the three letters I'd written and the results, including Peterson's non-response.

Little did I know that one of the women in the audience that night happened to be a good friend of Peterson. She told me that she was scheduled to see him in the near future, and she'd ask him about my letter.

A few weeks later, a hand-written letter arrived from Eugene Peterson. He explained he'd received my letter a year earlier but had lost the envelope with my return address. To my surprise, he'd kept the letter on his desk for the entire year, praying that somehow he'd discover where to send his response. A few weeks later, when we met for lunch, we both marveled at God's providence, and he kindly accepted my apology for presuming I knew why he'd not written. Indeed, he was as "unbusy" as his writings led me to believe.

Sometimes we presume to know why people don't meet our expectations, but so often we don't know the whole story.

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