Wednesday, February 11, 2015
When You Think You Know Best
I pray for friends when I'm cleaning my house. I make beds and shine mirrors and when their names come to mind, I hold them for a moment. I don't always know why someone in particular comes to mind. Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes less so. I know what I know and I don't know what I don't, but God knows it all. Sometimes though, sometimes I think I do know best. I think if they just asked me, I could remedy it all in a heartbeat, that my opinion could make all the difference. An arrogant stance, but there it is.
It's seemingly easy to fix someone else's problems, come up with a thousand solutions for their outside problems. It's tempting to match the outsides of others lives to the insides of your own. And vice versa. It can be frustrating to see someone struggling with something you think you have the answers to. The thing is, you think you know - but you have no idea.
No idea what goes on behind closed doors. No idea how they came to a particular decision. No idea where their heart is, what their head is taking into account.
We are a culture of opinions. We see things in black and white, do and don't, if y then x. We label others as ignorant or worse if they choose differently, believing our choices to be superior simply because we made them. We run into trouble when we realize we are dealing with real flesh and blood human beings and nothing, nothing about living and working and struggling through this life is so simple, so straightforward.
When you see someone you love struggling, it's a natural inclination to want to help. To apply what makes sense to you to their lives. To offer advice, to tell them if they "just" do xyz, everything will turn out fine. The thing is, life is complicated. People have reasons. They've made choices based on more than shallow outside opinions.
If you really want to help? It's simple. Set down your illusions. Pack away your solutions. Turn your back on your preconceived notions and just.love.them. Where they are. How they are. Who they are. Trust that they are not only just as informed as you are - but more so. They see both the outside and the inside. You may think you know their life. They are the ones who are living it.
There is no space for arrogance and ego in loving others. To be a true friend in a world like that requires us to stretch beyond our own importance.
Kindness at all times.
Charity in all situations.
Humility in knowing we might not be right.
Trust that they are doing their best, just as we are.
And, of course, always, forever and ever - love, above all things. Because love is all of the above and so very much more.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to future posts. Thank you.