Earlier this week I wrote a blog post about a conflict between a husband and wife. Told the story of the interaction, asked what people thought. The comments ensued, and there were lots of interesting points made.
What I found most interesting was the level of certainty some of us had regarding the situation.
And I was wrong.
It’s interesting how many different perspectives can exist from one story – one in which we admittedly have limited information from only one perspective. Our own backgrounds, experiences, professions, marital status, histories, parenting status and maybe even level of abuse or lack of it in our past or current relationships certainly impacts how we interact with the story.
And that’s all it is, a simple story from someone’s life.
I wonder how we would respond if all the details were present?
I wonder if we would look at it differently if the man, or woman, had an arrest record for domestic violence?
Or if they were separated, because the man had had an affair and was just at the house to pick up his kid for the weekend?
I wonder if any of these details would impact our perspectives?
I really had no idea where this discussion would go when I posted on Monday.
And yes, I’m still working on the response for Wednesday’s blog. Divorce, tough topic.
I had thought of filling in the extra details that might change how we perceive the situation, but I need to end the discussion because it’s too much to ask of the person who generously shared the story with me.
And I’m sorry. I think I made a mistake.
I don’t pretend to know all the answers, and I haven’t kept my license to do anything any longer, so perhaps I shouldn’t even be asking the questions.
But the reality is that we are often too quick to rush to judgment.
Okay, I’m too quick to rush to judgment. Even when I don’t think I’m doing it, sometimes.
To clarify (and I’m doing it as much for myself as anyone) James 1:19-20 reads, Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
I don’t think anyone got angry in their responses on the post, but I do think I could have been better at being quick to hear and definitely slower to speak – mainly because I made assumptions that I wasn’t even aware I was making at the time.
But we (I) make assumptions and suggestions based on our own experiences and histories, instead of simply loving people in the middle of where they currently are, praying for them, and pointing them back to God.
And while it is debatable the extent to which we (I) didn’t do this, I think even though I could articulate that as my goal, I failed in seeking prayers and loving the subjects of Monday’s story well.
At the time, I really didn’t know what I thought about the exchange. The person simply suggested putting it out there. And I thought it was fine to do so. As we started getting comments, however, I started forming a few opinions.
Right, wrong…whatever…irrelevant to this post.
Because, the truth is, we never fully know the truth about someone else’s situation.
We’re not God. Only He knows the intimate details.
If I’ve learned one thing in the last week as a result of this dialogue, it’s been those three things, love, prayer, and Him are often the best answers we should offer up.
In the midst of all this, someone wrote me feeling awful because she’s recently suffered the loss of several close family members…but what was causing her the most pain is the Christian people who kept telling her she needs to stop sinning by being selfish by mourning, because those she lost are believers and in Heaven.
I wonder how often I’ve been too quick to speak, slow to listen, and vented righteous judgment all over someone who just needs to be heard, some compassion and time to heal?
Perhaps too often, even here on my own blog.
In dealing with this particular post and the pain of the one it is written about, I’ve learned much, at what is perhaps too high a cost, and for that I am really sorry. Some of the comments (my own included) deeply wound, and for that I am also sorry.
The simple truth of the matter is that we can never fully know the FULL truth of what’s going on in a relationship, and we have to be careful to not judge or be prescriptive when we respond.
I really do wish I had known now what I didn’t know then, but I’m truly thankful for the learning and the grace and forgiveness that has occurred. I hope you experience the same, and I am really sorry for opening a can of worms here.
So, once again, I want to apologize for the lack of leadership, and for the hurts that the post has caused. I have learned as Titus women, we need to be on mission to clearly encourage others in love, prayer, and always point others back to Him. Yes, we need to restore those who sin gently, but we need to be ever so certain first. At any rate, I hope you, dear sisters, can also forgive me.
Love to you all,