Understanding another person without being able to crawl inside their skin for a while and back out again is an impossibility. As much as we may want to know another person, love them, get to know what makes them tick, or love their hurts away, there are still unbreachable boundaries.
A saying I’ve heard often, attributed to the wisdom of Native Americans, says, “Before you can understand another man, you must walk a mile in his moccasins.” There were over three million websites dealing with this thought. From poetry to short stories to self-help groups and song lyrics, this thought has captivated millions.
When I was a child, our church made a visit to Chicago and drove down Skid Row. There were “bums” on the street, in doorways and gutters. I suppose our church wanted us to get a close up look at the depravity of man and imprint us with every man’s need for God. I never see such individuals without wondering what they looked like as a baby. I try to see them in their mother’s arms and wonder what they were like as a little child before the world broke them down.
Somewhere the lack of love wounded them. Their life expectancies failed them. Liquor or drugs started out as a way to self-medicate and anesthetize the pain before it took control of their lives, lock stock, and body. Looking from the outside, it is impossible to tell what injuries and disappointments they suffered that took them down a wretched path.
We were not put on this planet to think ourselves better than any other segment of humanity. Some feel entitled or superior simply because of the life of privilege to which they were born although they did nothing to earn or inherit it. Some feel superior because of the color of their skin over which they had no genetic control. Others celebrate the location of their birth over which they had no say.
I believe the difference between me and any other person on this planet is based in God’s eyes only on my realization and acceptance of His love for me, and my belief that He has a unique purpose for my life in this time and this place that I am trying sincerely to follow.
The Bible says in Romans 14:10, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
From the website Bible or Not? I found this quote: “There but for the grace of God go I.” It is attributed to John Bradford
Bradford’s quote was prompted when he saw a group of criminals being led to their executions. Little did he know how true his quote, and the context in which he said it, was. John Bradford was an English preacher born in 1510 who at the age of 45 was executed by Queen Mary by burning at the stake. His crime was preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and exposing England as a nation that had forsaken God.
In 1970 Joe South wrote and recorded the lyrics, “If I could be you and you could be me for just one hour, if we could find a way to get inside each other’s mind… If you could see you through my eyes instead of your ego, I believe you’d be surprised to see that you’d been blind. Walk a mile in why shoes, walk a mile in my shoes. Before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.” The words found their mark in the hearts of the public. Four months later, the song was recorded by Elvis Presley and shot to the top of the charts.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.