Have you ever found yourself saying, “I don’t know why he did that”, or “I don’t know why she won’t don’t that”? I have started many a sentence that way, sadly. The fact of the matter is, when commenting on the life, actions or reactions of others often we don’t know so we shouldn’t readily or repeatedly say. Now certainly there are times and occurrences where lives are in jeopardy, situations are dire, God is urging action or experience has equipped us and throwing in the proverbial “two cents” is warranted. But there are times where, from the outside looking in with only half, or less than the facts needed to make an accurate assessment, we aren’t in a position to say something and should accept that as so.
A conversation with a dear friend reinforced this notion as we both came to the realization that the actions of a woman going through the pains of her divorce didn’t make sense and would end up causing more pain. That was the truth. Still, as two fellow divorcees, with situations very different from hers we quickly realized that we truly can’t say much about her situation since we weren’t in it. As women, we had to step back with empathy, see another sister hurting, and look at the myriad of factors which might have led to or encouraged her actions, then accept that those were factors that we didn’t have to deal with because of the route our lives took in ways that didn’t exactly mirror or mimic hers.
I’ve learned that it’s easy to say how we think a person’s story should go when we only have a bit part, wasn’t around for the opening act, didn’t make it to the gut-wrenching middle or are simply sitting high up in the rafters getting a glimpse of it unfolding. To cast the kind of stinging commentary that has become all too familiar about the lives of others is unfair, even if the person’s actions ultimately end up wrong, and especially if they ultimately end up right. When it comes to actions which we feel are wrong for a person and end up proving to be absolutely wrong, the truth of the matter is, many times we don’t know the past hurts, the unresolved pains, the unhealthy influences, the spiritual, mental or emotional state, or any of the other impairing factors a person might be facing. When it comes to actions which we feel are wrong for a person and end up proving to be absolutely right, the truth of the matter is we don’t know the past histories, the unknown path to healing, the plans of God unfolding, or the truth behind the bold, unconventional choices which may not make sense now but certainly will later.
What’s the best way to handle situations we may not like, may not understand, may not agree with or hope to be different? Glad you asked. In the words of MC Hammer, “I said, ‘We pray‘, pray, ah yeah, we pray, pray!”
The best commentary we can offer toward another’s life’s circumstances is a good, old chat with our great, big God. We have to pray for the person or persons involved, and pray we are never faced with a situation of that nature.