“For 7 cents, now you’re making someone a felon for the rest of his life,” Anthony Stewart’s lawyer exclaimed after the sentencing was passed. Anthony, a 15-year-old, was going to be facing 2-6 years in juvenile detention for stealing a whopping 7 cents. Stewart’s lawyer pleaded with the judge to treat her client as a youthful offender so he wouldn’t have this felony hanging over his head the rest of his life. The judge was not willing to make such a compromise. Why? Here’s the full story.
Anthony Stewart and his friend took BB guns that looked like real pistols for the sole purpose of robbery. These two young men later came upon a 73-year-old man. They knocked him to the ground and Anthony proceeded to punch the old man in the face. Then they stole every solitary cent the man had on him, a staggering 7 cents. While some might be upset with Anthony’s punishment over such an insignificant amount, an important question must be asked. What if the old man had been carrying three thousand dollars or more? There is no doubt that the young teen boys would have taken all of it. The felony has nothing to do with the amount the boys stole. It has to do with the crime itself and their malicious intent (CBS News).
It’s amazing how the details can completely change the story. In so many instances it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to come to the right conclusion without all the facts. This is one type of improper judgment Jesus was warning against in Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
Improper judgment is not seen in condemning the things God has already condemned, but in making a conclusion about someone without really knowing the full situation. There is no doubt that thousands and thousands of problems have occurred because we simply didn’t find out the facts. Gossip has be spread. Slander has been dished out. Controversies have inflamed. Problem after problem has come about because of improper judgment.
We need to exercise extreme caution before jumping to conclusions and judgments. Most of the time there is much more to the story than meets the eye.