Friday, November 16, 2012
These beautifully beaded moccasins from the Lakota Indian tribe are part of a display at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, North Dakota. They remind me of an important life lesson.
In the last couple decades of my life, I have discovered a great truth -- one that is well-known by many, but is taken to heart by only a few. It's this: until you've gone through "a thing" yourself, you never really know how it feels, or to quote an old Indian saying, "To understand a man, you've got to walk a mile in his moccasins."
The Biblical directive to put this truth into action is "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" Matthew 7:1-2.
The thing is, we tend to look at another person's behavior and think, "That's not the way she should act about that difficulty," or "He is way out of line with his behavior in this situation." Granted, there are times when people do not behave appropriately and they are way out of line, but too often what we consider to be poor behavior might be the best way that person knows how to cope with the situation. James said, "...But you - who are you to judge your neighbor?" (3:12).
Sometimes we're able to handle things better than we think we would when a situation arises, and other times, we fall apart and are later surprised at our own reaction to the event. The great thing is that God understands all of our reactions and motives and feelings -- and He loves us no matter how we react. I love another verse in James that is, I believe, not only how God looks at us, but how we should look at one another, "...Mercy triumphs over judgment!" (2:13). Praise God for Mercy!