There are people you will encounter that are difficult to get along with or understand. There isn’t an excuse for being unkind, hurtful, or disrespectful of others, but everyone has a story. Some people have a harder time of letting go of hurt and anger than others, and it negatively affects their actions and relationships.
We all have strengths and weaknesses, we have shared experiences of fear, love, and pain. We don’t always know what someone is struggling with, or the battle they are fighting within themselves. We may show our emotions differently and react differently, but we are all human. We are all God’s children. I used the picture of Brad Marchand because as a Canucks fan (though the example probably applies for many hockey fans), he gets under my skin. I don’t like the way I have seen him treat people (the Daniel Sedin incident immediately comes to mind), but I don’t know him. I don’t know what his life is like, how he treats people off the ice, what his own struggles are or the pressures he’s under. I don’t know what’s going on in his head. When I see this quote next to him, it really makes me think deeply about love and forgiveness, and that we can all be judgmental at times. It doesn’t mean that I am all right with everything he does, but that we never know the whole story, we all make mistakes, we are all human.
I think that oftentimes when we don’t really like someone, it’s because we don’t understand them or we don’t really know them – we only focus on the bad things. Instead of jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about someone, we should consider what they might be going through. This doesn’t mean accepting or justifying hurtful behaviour, but understanding that everyone we meet is fighting their own battle. We should try to lift people up, not cast them down. Search out the good things, not just the bad. Encourage them, not discourage them.
Game Plan: Take the time to really listen to someone without voicing your opinion or giving advice, being fully focused on them. It’s one of the best gifts that you can give to someone because it shows them that you see them and that nothing is more important in that moment. Remember that listening is different than hearing. Listen to learn rather than to respond. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)