You never know what burdens people are carrying.
Last Monday, my wife and I were out for a drive, and we stopped at a big-box plaza to allow her to pick up some needful things. I waited outside, and watched people – a fun avocation that I recommend everyone try. One woman came out of a store with a toddler in tow, very obviously doing everything she could do to hold back tears. As she loaded the child into her vehicle and prepared to get into the driver’s seat, I could see that the dam was breaking and she began to weep.
Being a perfect stranger and from another community, it didn’t seem the appropriate thing to inquire as to how I might have helped her. Instead, from the isolation of my vehicle, I took a moment to pray for her, not knowing her plight, but realizing that it seemed to be taking a toll on her.
This experience illustrated for me the value of trying to see the best in people. I have not always found this easy; in fact, I still find it a real challenge. Once we’ve been ‘jaded’, we find it hard to bounce back to that place where we can see the best in others.
Here’s a thought: instead of trying to see the best in people on your own, why not look at people through God’s eyes? I’ve used this video a couple of times in the past to illustrate this idea.
To be sure, this isn’t easy, either. It’s far easier to take someone’s grumpiness personally, and assume the person has a hate on for us or is just naturally of a poor disposition. We have a tendency to think of ourselves first. But if we can think of the other person first, and her or his predicament, it may help us to see the person as God sees him or her, and to realize that the problem isn’t natural grumpiness or anger at us. There is a deeper struggle that shows itself in a mood.
When we see others as God does, it helps us love them as God does. After all, God does not just love us; Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3.16, NIV).
Who knows? Maybe our attempts to love others as God loves them will result in some people accepting that love from God, and becoming disciples of Jesus. Even if that doesn’t happen, though, God calls us to love people. And Jesus is the perfect model, the perfect embodiment of God’s love.
Keep on loving! You’re making a difference.