We think we know. We may even feel confident in it. We label people because of what we see on the outside. Lazy, hopeless, dumb, helpless are just a few. It goes the other way too – rich, successful, intelligent, wise. We define people by the things we see. But we don’t know. We don’t know what goes on in their homes. We don’t know what they are struggling with in their lives. We don’t know the hurt or frustration or anger bubbling up under the surface. We don’t understand how their past has haunted or shaped them. We don’t know they lash out because they are so wounded inside. We don’t know that it appears they are wealthy but in reality they could lose it all in the blink of an eye. We don’t know they suffer from insecurity or they are held back by the despair that overwhelms them. All we know is what we see and that isn’t very much.
Yet, we find ourselves quick to make judgments. We can easily decide the character of people without actually getting to know them. We can lump people together in a big group so we can avoid all of them or identify with all of them. Yet, we don’t know. My Dad often told me – everyone puts on their pants the same way. In other words, we are not as different as we want to pretend we are. We are humans. We are made in the image of God. We are loved by an incredible God who sees us and knows us and still loves us. He doesn’t care about our outward show. He cares about our heart. Yet, we often don’t get to know people enough to know anything about their heart. We just want to make decisions based on what we see. We don’t know.
Since we don’t know, be kind. It is simple. It really is one of the most powerful things we can do and doesn’t take much effort. But since we don’t know, don’t make judgments – just be kind. Kindness reaches across barriers. Kindness opens doors. Kindness encourages community. Kindness opens arms.
Since we don’t know – just be kind.
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery