January 18, 2007

Different Angle

Originally posted on Veronika's personal blog, this post has been slightly redone and reworded for clarity and readability. We hope you enjoy and are inspired! ~~Veronika and Katie Marie

Have you ever noticed how things look different when seen from a new perspective, a different angle? Situations you thought you knew all the details of are quickly changed, and you can’t make heads or tails of it.

I’m referring to close-up pictures. Remember those snapshots in childrens’ books that ask you to guess what the object is in real life? Erasers, a cup, wood shavings, items like that? Once, some friends and I took a digital camera and started taking random shots of objects in my house: lamps, baskets, suitcases, all sorts of things. Sadly, although we were familiar with all of the objects, figuring out what they were wasn’t very easy. We were very embarassed when – in our haste – we’d discover how the porcelain sink somehow looked exactly like that curtain from downstairs!

Too often, we do the same thing with the people crossing our path. How many times have you come to a conclusion, and then discovered – too late – that you were entirely wrong, and that the people involved were hurt? Admit it, it’s happened more often than you’d like to say, right?

There was once a very wise, knowledgeable man way back when who adressed this same issue. He left us some godly advice: “He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him…” (Prov. 18:13). Paraphrasing it, we could say: “He that makes assumptions before he knows all the details is a fool….” Solomon was warning us of the simple foolishness and danger in letting assumptions get in the way of our relationships; too many have been ripped apart because of such assumptions. Sometimes, scars are never healed and friends are lost forever, all because those involved never took the time to look at the “picture” from the other person’s perspective.

Like the snapshots, it sometimes doesn’t make sense when a person reacts completely different from the way we expect, We can’t understand their motivations and decisions… that is, until we turn the picture around and look at it from a different angle. In doing so, we give them the benefit of the doubt, which often saves the relationship as well. Don’t “answer a matter before you hear (or see) it”!

So next time you’re ready to get angry at someone, stop and think! Put yourself in their shoes, and look from their perspective. Doing so will remind you that they’re human too. The way their life has been shaped makes them think and say things different, even contrary, to how you may think. Remember how our Lord would have treated them: with patience, love and courtesy. We are all formed from the dust, thus, we are all capable of making errors in judgement. Be understanding and forgiving in your response, and you will save yourself and your friends much pain.