“Don’t judge others or you too will be judged." ~ Matthew 7:11
Summer’s leisure in Nebraska had turned into the prospects of harvest – a season for thanksgiving, camaraderie, and plenty of elbow grease. During its recent early morning hours, fourth-generation farmer Jonathon Rempel readied his two children for school when the phone rang.
The voice sounded like the words were formed of smoke, his lungs charred. “Your harvest equipment is on fire,” Rempel recalled. “All of it.” Then the line went dead.
Jonathon flew from their farmhouse, down several miles of dusty roads to where he’d rested his equipment late last night.
The scene was like something out of a horror movie; scorched metal and melted rubber, nothing to salvage. The air smelled pungent - no wonder the Fire Chief could barely speak.
The news couldn’t have been worse. The fire destroyed a tractor, a combine and grain head, two trucks and trailers full of grain, and a grain cart. All told - several hundred thousand dollars’ worth.
Photographs from the fire quickly went viral on social media, suggesting the fire was politically driven and arson. “Joe Biden Mob Sets Fire to Farm in Nebraska,” and “Leftist Terrorists Burn Farm Equipment Over Trump” for example.
Rempel confirmed that two flags in support of President Trump were on his combine. Flags and signs supporting the president weren’t uncommon in Nebraska. Many farmers have used their harvest equipment as rolling billboards this election year.
But Rempel staunchly avoided making any political connection, sharing instead his thanks in the Facebook Post below:
“Today was a hard day.
Apparently, sometime early this morning, [all of our harvesting equipment] caught fire at about the same time while parked at a safe distance from each other.
We are devastated by the enormous loss we face from this fire, but at the same time we're incredibly blessed to be from rural America, where the people are the BEST.
Both of our phones have blown up with a huge out-pouring of support from friends, family, business partners, and strangers offering their physical help, their operational help, and offers of meals in this time of tragedy.
These people are already stretched, stressed and tired, but are taking time to reach out, and offer help and aid in a time of need. We are so incredibly blessed by everyone!!! Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us today. Love, The Rempels
The importance of withholding judgment seems almost impossible in today’s highly charged election. Maybe we should all try a little harder to follow the Rempel’s example. And if we find that we really do have enough valid reason to justify our opinions, then we should simply follow the golden rule and keep them to ourselves.
Merciful God, help me overcome the tendency to jump to speedy, and sometimes wrong conclusions that could hurt someone else. Keep my mind open and my heart ready to be changed so that You can use me to build others up with loving grace, Amen.