That driver in front of you going what you deem as too slow, taking what you think is too long at stop signs, the one you zipped around at that 4-way stop while honking your horn… He’s a 15-year-old who just got his learning permit and is out practicing his driving.
That boss who seems overly sensitive and picky, who never seems satisfied with your work… She’s overwhelmed by her own mounting workload, plus the pressures of family to be at every little event are just wearing on her. She’s also not sleeping well.
That man who parked in a handicapped spot… Sure, he has a handicapped sticker, but he looks basically healthy except for being somewhat overweight… His asthma gets so bad so quickly sometimes that he needs to keep his car and medications as close by as possible just in case.
When someone snaps at you to get moving, when someone “ignores” you at the store, even when someone doesn’t return a text, instead of reacting and being offended or hurt, consider that…
There’s often more to a situation than meets the eye. There’s usually so much more you do not – and will never – know about a person and their situation.
What appears as reality is often either not accurate or only part of the story. After all, not only is there much we don’t know, but we’re pretty good at infusing our assumptions into another person’s life, aren’t we? On the reverse of that, we’re also pretty good at covering up reality and painting a pretty picture over the decay. Selfishness and insecurity seem to always so cloud our vision that we simply cannot see accurately.
Since we just don’t know so much information, what can we do? How can we positively interact with others when they just seem against us at times?
- Give the benefit of the doubt. There’s likely a lot more going on than you know.
- Assume the best you can, not the worst that usually comes automatically.
- Pray for them. You may not know, but God does.
What’s more, how can we overcome our assumptions and selfishness and instead see the good? Since we never fully know a situation — nor should we always know since some things are simply none of our business — let’s purpose to let Philippians 4:8 direct how we think about and view others.
“Whatever is true… noble… right… pure… lovely… admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
How does this verse and the three suggestions above change how you view others?