You know that saying, “Don’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” Well, I’ve found that, to a certain extent, this is true. Let me explain why this idea has been on my mind, lately. My Aunt Brynn, whom many of you know about from my mom’s posts, shared with us that there was a certain person she was acquainted with through her job, who would really annoy her. Aunt Brynn couldn’t seem to quell her dislike for this person.
The person had certain characteristics and traits that were difficult, on the surface, to love from my aunt’s point of view. According to Aunt Brynn, he was loud, arrogant, and always had to be the center of attention. Needless to say, my aunt did NOT like this person, at all. She had great difficulty U Loving him. However, my aunt noticed that her boss had no problem showing love and compassion towards this particular person.
One day, my aunt found out that this person who so easily got on her nerves was to become her coworker. That’s right, Brynn’s boss actually hired this person to work for their company. My Aunt Brynn was in a tizzy. She didn’t know how she would be able to tolerate this person on a daily basis. And, she found she did have a great deal of trouble doing just that. However, my Aunt Brynn saw that, every day, her boss was always quite compassionate and caring towards this coworker. So finally, Aunt Brynn approached her boss and inquired of him how in the world he was so easily able to U Love the coworker.
My aunt’s boss replied that it was because he knew what this person had been through in his life, the difficulties and tragedies he had endured, which caused him to behave the way he did. Obviously, the boss was looking at the person through God’s eyes. With the coworker’s permission, my aunt’s boss then proceeded to share with her some of the coworker’s life story, which included things such as abuse and having been tossed about between many foster homes.
My aunt hadn’t known any of it; but it suddenly changed my aunt’s entire perspective about her coworker. Once she knew some of his background, she could only feel compassion and U Love towards him because she then knew why he was the way he was. Go figure! Now, my aunt feels mostly love for this person. They’ve actually become sort of like friends at work, with Brynn trying to show the coworker much compassion when he goes into exasperate mode! But, this demonstrates my point, that it’s much easier to love another when you understand the shoes they’ve been wearing.
Likewise, there have been times in my life, when I would start to get to know someone, and make a blanket conclusion of who they were as a person based merely on my original impression, their “outward layer,” so to speak. I would look at their characteristics, and establish my assumption of their substance based upon their outward actions. And, that couldn’t have been more wrong. I came to realize my error when tables were turned on me, and I was erroneously judged by others solely by my outward behavior.
I came to understand that, as per my own experience and the story from my Aunt Brynn, people are generally molded by their life experiences, especially from childhood. These experiences tend to shape their character. And, it seems that everyone has a war story. Every person has their own life journey with its trials and tragedies that have caused them to become who they are. Learning about a person’s war story and life experiences will often credibly explain why a person behaves as they do.
As I’ve already mentioned, once I’ve gotten to know certain individuals more deeply, and heard from their own mouths the hurts they’ve suffered in life, my impressions of these people completely changed. My eyes were opened to the truth of who they were and what had shaped their character. I suddenly no longer had a heart of un-love towards these people, but had a heart of great compassion for what they had gone through. Instead of feeling dislike towards these people, I wanted to weep for them and love on them, just like my Aunt Brynn with her coworker.
U Love and deep compassion become natural responses when you “know the shoes a person has walked in.” Disdain becomes a distant memory. I began to become aware of example after example of how desperately human beings need God’s U Love shown to them; and I realized that I needed to be an agent of God’s U Love in their lives. Once I understood who many people truly were on the inside, U Love was my only response to them.
And, so my conclusion is this. I don’t think the saying, “don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” is correct in its entirety. Because, truthfully, should we EVER be judging anyone, anyway? If anything, knowing “the shoes a person has walked in” should elicit such a great response of U Love and compassion that we hopefully wouldn’t ever want to judge anyone anymore.
To take this a step further, what if we stopped judging altogether from the get go? What if we were so wholly walking in God’s unconditional love, that no matter what we knew about a person, or how we saw them behave, we would always have a heart of U Love towards them? Then, their war story wouldn’t even matter. I don’t know about you, but, ultimately, I think that would be the correct response, and that’s how I want to be as a person. It’s something I’m working on more and more for myself. I hope you’ll think about it too! See ‘ya next week!!
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