By Kelly Carr
While lunching with some coworkers, one of them said that she finds certain comments from others upsetting because of an experience she had in her past. I and several others admitted we would have never realized that such comments could be upsetting to someone because we hadn’t experienced what she had. Another coworker said that it would be great if we could all walk a mile in other people’s shoes.
That is indeed a powerful concept. If we could live in other people’s situations for just one day, our perspective, our level of compassion, our depth of understanding would surely change.
Since we cannot do that, what do we do?
Find Out Stories
One way to get a glimpse of others’ perspectives is to find out their stories. The people you work with or live near have been in different situations than you have. Ask them to share. Crack open their stories like a good book and take it all in. The more we learn about others, the wider our view will be of all the people God has created.
Find someone who is from a different racial, economic, or ethnic background than you; talk to someone whose mental or physical abilities differ from yours; and strive to open your ears, your mind, your heart. Ask God to teach you something through these interactions.
I asked some authors to share stories from their lives with The Lookout. I wanted to know what church life looks like from their points of view. I don’t know what it’s like to walk in their shoes, so this is my way of taking a peek. I hope you do the same.
Show God’s Value
We can also live like we believe that each person we see is a unique creation of God, fully loved by him. We can nod along when we read in God’s Scriptures that all souls are valuable. But do our actions follow suit?
I’ll admit, I’m tempted to make snap judgments about others. I see things from my perspective, and I can start to feel superior or scornful before I know the whole story. Do I stop to remember that God’s grace is available to every single human and then respond with Jesus’ love in mind? On my good days, I do.
Is that a struggle for you?
Today is Racial Reconciliation Sunday, and we are challenged as the body of Christ to evaluate our actions and determine if we are welcoming all God’s children into our spiritual families with the readiness God desires.
At the end of 2014, events in our country brought race to the forefront of our conversations again. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice and the demonstrations that followed called attention to people’s stories. We formed opinions. How did we react?
I read arguments on social media. I heard remarks of all types. But one I related with the most was someone who said the events should break our hearts. No matter who we are or what we look like, we should recognize that we humans hurt one another every day. Our words and actions have the power to destroy or to heal.
Today we are challenged to step toward healing. Do we invite others into our lives and congregations, no matter where they come from or what they look like? Do we treat people as we hope they will treat us? On our good days, we do.
Let’s keep choosing to make each day a good day.