Monday, June 25, 2012

Kind to the Battle-weary

"Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle," Plato? Philo? Anonymous?

While this quote is not always attributed to the same person, and I can't be sure who originally said it, I do find the sentiment to be very wise, indeed.

Take that person speeding in their car behind you, for instance.  Are they acting like a jerk?  Or, are they doing their best to get to a hospital to say their final goodbyes to their dying friend?

The surly grocery store checker.  Is she just a nasty old bitty?  Or, did her husband just run off with a lady from his office? 

What about that nice person who lets you go in front of them in the check-out line?  Is their life going along splendidly?  Or, did their child just pass away from a rare illness, and they want to leave the world a little better than they found it?

We can never know what struggles are lurking behind the masks that people wear.  Some masks are intentional, and others aren't.  However, that could be fodder for a slew of other post topics.  The point for today is that whatever is coming across on the outside of a person may or may not be accurate as to what he or she is feeling on the inside.

The same concept of looking beyond the action to the heart of the person is a good one for marriage and parenting relationships, too.  Is a rude spouse merely having a bad day, trying to retaliate for a perceived but undiscussed slight, or completely oblivious to how he or she is coming across.  Is a spiteful teenager just mean, or is he or she angry that mom and dad got divorced and does not know how to deal with the world falling apart?

May the above quote remind us that we might be kind to consider the actions of others from differing vantage points, so that we can appropriately respond, encourage, and build up each other rather than taking it all personally and then taking it out on other people.  It is always better to give, and get, the benefit of the doubt.