The Philosophy of the Second Glance

A wise man wished to discourage his sons from making rash

At his command, the eldest made a winter journey to see a mango tree.

During the spring, he sent the next oldest son on the same errand. Summer followed, and the third son went.

When the youngest boy had returned from his autumn visit, the wise man called them together.

“Describe the tree,” he said to them.

The first said it looked like a burnt stump. The second disagreed, describing it as lovely in lacy green. The third declared its blossoms were as beautiful as the rose. The fourth said all were wrong, “Its fruit was like a pear.”>

“Each one of you is right,” said the wise father, “for each of you saw it in a different season.”

The lesson for them was that when we view another’s actions, we are to withhold judgment until we are certain we’ve seen “the tree in all its seasons.”1

1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that “love is very patient and kind.”

The “philosophy of the second glance” is a glance of love and kindness.

Instead of jumping to conclusions and becoming judgmental of other’s actions, it gives the other person the benefit of the doubt.

Someone has stated, “Think of your own sins, and you will be more understanding of the sins of others.”2

“In men whom men condemn as ill
I find so much of goodness still;
In men whom men pronounce divine
I find so much of sin and blot,
I hesitate to draw the line
Between the two, when God has not.”3 - Joaquin Miller 1837-1913

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    1. Morris Mandel, A Complete Treasury Of Stories For Public Speakers, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, N.Y., 11379, Copyright 1974, p. 249.
    2. Pulpit Helps, The Fountain, September 1997.
    3. Same source as # 1, p. 248.