What you can learn from a cookie thief

August 2nd, 2017

A woman was waiting for her plane at the airport. She went into a newsstand store and bought a bag of cookies.

A few minutes later, she wanted to start nibbling on the cookies. She looked up. A stranger sitting across from her had his hand inside the bag, pulling out a cookie.

She looked askance. “Why was he eating her cookies?”

She stared at him and then put her hand in the bag and pulled out a cookie. He stared back at her, put his hand in the bag and grabbed another one.

“The nerve on this guy,” she thought to herself. She stared intently back at him and stuck her hand in for another cookie.

It went on this way until the bag was empty.

About 15 minutes later, her flight was called. She got up to walk toward the gate. As she left, she looked back at the man at her table and shook her head vociferously.

She eventually got to her airplane seat and took a deep breath. “How could someone have stolen her food right in front her? What kind of person does that?” she wondered.

Then she put her hand in her purse. And there was the bag of cookies. It had been there all along.

The man at her table hadn't taken anything. He was eating his own cookies. She was the cookie thief!

What do you think this story teaches? It led me to ask myself whether I give others the benefit of the doubt. Do I assume the worst about them? Or do I try to look at both sides of every story?

Most of us are probably somewhere in between. But our faith pushes us to learn and grow. We learn not to judge, but to understand.

Understanding where to focus our energies is part of growing happier and healthier.

That’s the subject of the final chapter of The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today.

Evan Moffic is the author of Shalom for the Heart,  What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover and What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Jewishness of Jesus. He blogs at RabbiMoffic.com.

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