“My life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can.”
I recently heard about some judgments that have been passed against me by various people in my life, and it has left me feeling bruised and raw and aching. The thing is, I don’t blame them for their judgments. In fact, they more clearly help me appreciate the fact that God looks on the inside, because from the outside my life is damn-near perfect. Inside, however, I’ve been going through some incredibly difficult things, and I’ve been forced to face some major things inside myself that need healing and doing the often-excruciating work to get there. But in addition to feeling grateful for the knowledge of God’s love in the midst of my many, many mistakes and failings, I am also feeling extremely humbled.
Because in the same way that others are judging me, I have been judging someone in my own life. I have looked at the ways this person treated me and I have been hurt, angry, resentful, and bitter. I have positioned myself in a war against this person and seen them as an enemy to be defeated rather than a sibling-in-Christ to be loved. Over the past few weeks, I had all but stopped seeking to understand and moved into a position of self-righteous judgment where I could sit upon my moral high horse and look down from a distance at which I felt safe.
Today, I am reminded that the solution to anger and resentment is never to move away but to move closer. To find a way to connect and seek to understand. To be brave enough to walk through our own pain in order to understand the pain of another. The truth is, we are all doing the best we can. Sometimes our best sucks. Sometimes other people’s best sucks. But today I have been gifted a reminder—a reminder that for every external action I see, there are thousands of internal hopes and dreams, fears and wounds, which drive our decisions. And I am reminded once again of the importance of loving people exactly where they are.
Even when it’s hard.
Others may never change, but WE can. And when we do, we become like the branches of the Willow, which allow the wind to bend them, and in doing so, ensure the wind will never break them.
— Wind in the Wilderness