What People Don’t Understand

“The Ides of March” Series … Prompt #11: “What people don’t understand.”

What people don’t understand, they speak of naively and critically. They quickly pass judgment on something they know nothing about, sure that the whole world needs to agree with them because obviously there’s no way they could be wrong.

The problem is, we see through only one set of lenses: our own. Our own experiences, emotions, and thoughts filter everything else in the world so how could we not be biased and just a little prejudiced? And we’ll take offense at someone disagreeing with our perception because of course it’s personal.

Maybe we all need to take a chill pill and remember a few things.

First of all, we will never fully understand everything. In fact, we will probably fully understand very little in life. So maybe we should stop pretending like we do. Maybe we should admit with humility that we see things a certain way because of a million little things that make us who we are – and someone else will see things differently. And it’s okay. The only thing that IS objective is the truth of God’s Word – that’s one thing we can fully put our trust in.

Second of all, no matter how bad our situation is, there will always be someone worse off than us. So complaining is pretty much pointless. You have a crazy, busy schedule? Guess what … so do I. You have money issues and financial concerns? I understand. But one thing neither of us have to worry about is where our next meal is coming from and where we’ll sleep at night – and if we have the basics in life, then everything else is just frosting on the cupcake. So maybe we should stop pretentiously saying, “You don’t understand what I’m going through” or “You don’t know how bad it is for me.” No, probably I don’t understand your exact situation because everyone’s is different. But I’m sure you and I are not the worst-case scenarios in the world.

Thirdly, when people DON’T understand you, why moan and groan and blame them for things not their fault? Just accept that understanding won’t come and move on with your life. If you beat a dead horse, it won’t come back to life again. It will just keep decaying. Don’t make the relationships in your life decay because you’re trying to force people to understand.

But fourthly, there will be people who do understand you. Sometimes they will understand without you even having to say a word. You could just exchange a glance and simply know what the other is thinking. Those are the ones with whom you share a certain depth of friendship found nowhere else. You delight in what makes the other soul delighted. You want to share humor, books, anecdotes, and experiences with them because they will truly appreciate them like you do. And our soul longs to be understood like that. Those types of people: don’t take for granted. Be grateful for the soul kindredness.

People are bound to misunderstand you. They will disagree and argue vehemently. They will push for their side of the issue and you’ll want to give up in frustration. Maybe you will. But give up on the “rightness” or “wrongness” of an issue (unless it’s Gospel truth you’re defending), and don’t give up on the relationship. It’s not worth it in the end to come out waving our pride flag high with dozens of trampled souls under our feet.

Because who needs to hear this most of all? I do. And I pray I pull out this memo time and again to remind myself. May He make me more understanding every day with HIS love, not my own feeble logic and rhetorical protests. I need to give up my right to be right.

And maybe when I do, I’ll understand people better.

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