“Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
I’m sure you have read this quote before. We aren’t to judge someone unless we know what they are going through. I seemed to be surrounded these days by people who are going through some type of crisis. Emotional, physical, mental. There are times when I can’t leave myself off of that list either.
I’m not sure where I would have been three years ago without the support of my now husband, my daughter, my family and my God. I’m really not sure where I would be today either without them. But what about those who have no one? What about the millions who suffer from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, depression, feelings of hopelessness or anger? Those with complicated pasts and painful chidlhoods? What if they have nowhere to turn? My heart breaks for these people. My heart aches for those who have been tossed aside simply because they aren’t strong enough to handle the everyday stresses and emotions that seek to tear us down.
The world tends to turn its back on these people. There tends to be a fear of being around someone whose life isn’t wrapped up in a neat little package. I read a quote once that said “don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you do.” I think the same applies to people who handle life differently. Don’t judge someone because they handle life differently or aren’t as strong as you. No one can possibly understand how complex the mind works, and how your emotions or the past can run you over unless you have experienced it yourself.
I am blessed to have wonderful people around me. I am blessed that my mother took me to church as a baby and that I never strayed from there for very long. I am blessed to know love and to be loved and to know God. But to some this is a foreign concept. There are those who were never hugged as a child, never told that it was okay to cry and show emotion. Never comforted in times of sorrow or praised for accomplishments. Never given a bible or told the story of Jesus Christ. Chances are you know someone like this. It may be that person who sits in a cubicle next to you who never has a kind word. It may be that extremely insecure friend who can’t stay in a relationship or constantly picks the abusive, manipulating partner. Or it may be that student or friend of your child’s who acts out for no reason other than the need for attention.
The truth is there are all kinds of kinds of people in this world. Are you accepting of their faults and kinder than necessary or do you judge and walk away?
A few weeks ago, our pastor did a sermon on the characteristics of Jesus. There were 60. I hadn’t intended to use this when I started writing but God led me to it. It seemed appropriate with what I had already written. Here are few to help us understand what others need of us:
- Patience is showing tolerance and fortitude to others, and even accepting difficult situations from them and God without making demands and conditions. (Matthew 27:14; Romans 12:12; James 1:3,12)
- Kindness is practicing benevolence and a loving attitude towards others. (Ephesians 4:32)
- Goodness displays integrity, honesty, and compassion to others, and allows us to do the right thing. (Matthew 19:16)
- Gentleness is the character that will show calmness, personal care, and tenderness in meeting the needs of others. (Isa. 40:11; Philippians 4:5; 2 Timothy 2:24; 1 Thes 2:7)
- Fairness sees a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved and not just ours. It seeks the best, just, equable solution, even if it hurts us. (Matthew 7:12)
- Friendship is the companionship and closeness we are to have with one another. It is the commitment to help form the character in others. This is not to be feared but embraced, even when it hurts! (Proverbs 27:17)
- Dependable is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. It will allow us to continue in our commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. (1 Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 1:10)
- Generosity allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all I have belongs to God and knowing we are the caretakers for His purpose. (Deut. 16:17; Matthew 10:8)
- Encouragement will lift, support, and help others up through difficult circumstances, all from God’s perspective. (Psalm 119:28; Psalm 143:3; Matt. 3:17; John 14:1; 1 Thes. 5:11–14)
- Attentiveness will recognize the value of other people by giving them listening ears, respect, courtesy, and total concentration. This means paying attention to others, not just listening to our own needs and desires, and also giving genuine contemplation to God’s Word. (Hebrews 2:1)
- Compassion will feel the pain and plight of others. It will enable us to convey a deep feeling of love and concern that moves us to meet their distresses, struggles, and needs. (Job 29:13; Isa. 40:11; Mark 1:41; Luke 19:4; 1 Peter 3:8)
- Supportive is to come along side others, sharing our strength and courage in their afflictions and troubles. (Galatians 6:2)
And the most important:
- Love will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, of course, our family, and others around us. Love is taking the initiative to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. (John 13:1; John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:3)
Be an unexpected blessing to someone who probably feels as if they don’t deserve it. Be the answer to their prayer. Be the answer to someone who hasn’t even prayed for an answer. All it takes is a few kind words, some time, a shared prayer.
Be more like Jesus today.