G is starting 9th grade in the fall. One of his classes in honors English. Because of that, he has a summer reading list of three books, and assignments to match them. The first of the books is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I picked him up a copy of the book today. I actually picked up two copies -- I told him that I would read it along with him. I can't remember if I have read it before; if I have, I didn't understand it. I know I've seen the movie, so I do have an idea of the plot.
I've started on my copy, and immediately ran into this sentence:
Reserving judgement is a matter of infinite hope.
That sentence struck me, especially in the light of our Wednesday evening class a couple of days ago. It was based on the parable (Matthew 13:34-30, 36-43) of the farmer who plants clean seed. Overnight, the enemy sneaks in and plants weeds. The hired hands ask, "Should we weed out the thistles?" The farmer answers, "'No, if you weed the thistles, you'll pull up the wheat, too." It is a parable about not judging other people -- allowing God to be God.
I think this quote from the Great Gatsby applies to this parable, in two ways.
- We looked at this parable during The Jesus I Never Knew. The class members wanted to know if weeds could ever become wheat. We decided that transformation is possible. That is a basis for hope and a reason to reserve judgement.
- This time, in What's So Amazing About Grace, the class focused more on the idea that we are unable to tell the wheat from the weeds. We are not equipped. We can't see into someone's heart or search their souls, while God can. So in this case, perhaps we reserve judgement out of the hope that our own judgment is poor, while God's is not. God can see the good in someone; while we can only hope that it is there.
Images: Cover of the paperback and scene from the movie of the same name, 1974, Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.