It never ceases to amaze me how understanding people is so essential to everyday life. You can see it anywhere. Understanding your family members, coworkers, boss, the people driving next to you (or in front of you!), or even the lady in line waiting for coffee is essential. Sometimes we react to their behaviors without giving a thought to WHY they are behaving this way.
At Target today there was a mom is yelling at her kid. Like yelling many rows away from me and I could still plainly hear her. What is your first thought about that situation? Perhaps if you’re not a parent yet you are wondering why this mom can’t keep her kid under control. Maybe you see it from the kids point of view and think that mom needs to watch how she talks (or yells) at her kid. Or maybe you even see if from the Mom’s point of view thinking she probably is really struggling right now. The truth is we tend to jump to one of these (or many other) conclusions. One sticks out it our brain and is the first thing we go to when our ears are bombarded by the sound of the crying child and yelling mother.
But what’s the truth? You don’t know what’s been going on at home for the last 24 hours. Or how many times that child has disobeyed. Or if there is a sick husband at home, or in the hospital, if the child has a learning disability, or if mom is 1st trimester pregnant (which we all know can be horrendous!). Seriously, the options are endless!
How do we react? Do we pass judgement or do we question WHY this is happening? Do we give the mom some grace?
A few weeks ago at Walmart, there was a young man in a wheelchair grunting and groaning. Of course my kids wanted to stare and see what was going on. I instructed them not to stare and instead looked them full in the face and took the opportunity to talk with them about the young man. It just so happens that I ran into his mom at the register. No, I didn’t know the family. But she was talkative and I still have my small town charm, so we were chatting it up. She told me her son used to be in a home, but that they were now taking care of him. They are upside down on the their house, so they will be staying in their current house for some time even though they thought of a smaller home. She said her son had gotten too excited while in the store so her husband took him out to the car. Her attitude about life was so refreshing! It was great for my boys to see this. Honestly, how many times do you get to see things full circle like that?
As a Christian, I see many times in the Bible that we are supposed to LOVE one another. Many times people think this love comes through an act of service, but we can love one another by simply NOT passing judgement on them.
So next time you’re out and about and see a situation unfolding, I encourage you to think of at least 3-4 possibilities of what could be going on right now with that person. It will change the way you see people!