I would imagine that most of us have talked about not being too judgmental because we never know what others are going through.
Perhaps we had a rude encounter with a co-worker or store employee that left us angry. Maybe we witnessed someone being disrespectful and were quick to evaluate the situation with a bias.
This in no way lessens the impact or accountability toward those that get violent. This isn’t meant to excuse criminal activity. This is about the negative verbal attitude and tone that some of us observe, or get caught into ourselves.
As I walk past people, no matter where I am, sometimes I wonder what they’re going through. How many are experiencing a fight with cancer, going through a divorce, recovering from a major illness, struggling in relationships, recovering from heartbreak or some other tragedy, have no money, have wayward addicted loved ones, etc. The list goes on.
We can have neighbors, co-workers and friends whose lives will be altered by unimaginable circumstances, and it isn’t always what someone has gone through but the ever-mysterious future that awaits all of us traveling in this life.
Not to sound cryptic, but I think about all the different twists and turns that lie ahead for us, especially young people.
None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. It could be a normal day, or it could be a tailspin. It could be a day of laughter and positive outcome or one filled with problems and constant set backs.
We never know, but God does.
That is one reason we should commit our hopes and prayers toward the One who knows our future. He says to cast or throw onto Him our cares and burdens, because His burden is light, which means He can handle it all. (Matt 11:28-30).
There are numerous examples in the Bible of heartache, tragedy, despair, depression and a whole gamut of negative experiences that affected humanity.
There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9), as it concerns the reactive emotions we express during or because of undesirable and harmful occurrences and seasons. With that, our tendency is to feel alone and sometimes withdrawn, with a mental calculation that no one knows or understands our situation.
I have gotten to the age and experience where I can now comprehend that there is nothing unique or extremely specialized in my life that others, perhaps millions have, are, or will go through. The same goes for your life.
Support groups have sprung up lending members to shared experiences. We have access to many articles, books and publications with advice and solace on getting through your current shadow valley. I think that’s basically a good thing.
We are supposed to give the benefit of doubt to others. I certainly hope that as I interact with my fellow citizens that, with any awkward encounter, I would predispose myself to purposely and thoughtfully consider what and why this person is being vulgar, disrespectful or ill mannered.
James 1:19 KJ “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”
Admittedly, I’m not rationalizing away what may not be excusable. I’m just simply trying to understand and recognize what could be contributing to said behavior.
Our own actions are markedly affected by what is going on in our lives. Some are more adept at hiding their feelings and others wear them on their sleeves. We go through the motions of life thinking that “I’m surrounded by all kinds of people, civilization and culture, yet each interaction leaves me feeling like an Island.”
Again, this is attributable to the, “no one knows what I’m going through,” mindset. While it is true, you never (inherently) know what others are going through, it is equally true that others don’t know what your going through either.
But God does.
And with that spiritual reality, it should be a clarion pick up call for us to fall back on the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Prov 18:24). He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5B).