There are times when I reflect on the people who I have met in my life and their impact. Both Christian and non-Christian have had both negative and positive impact. There is no cause for bitterness but sadness when I think about those who chose to leave me because of their judgment of me. I have had hard choices to make and they come with the shoes that I wear. Some people choose to judge us without consideration for those shoes. Whether they are new or old? Whether they fit perfectly or hurt our feet? Whether they have soles with holes or are barely there?
Not sure any of us truly know what empathy is and how it should move the heart within us. Jesus felt compassion for the woman at the well and the prostitute. He knew the choices they made. Sometimes choices have good intentions and sometimes they do not. I am sure we can all reflect on some really dumb choices we made because of an expected outcome. Not really understanding that we have no control over the outcome, only the choices.
As we travel this journey and make those choices, we must remember that everyone definitely wears a pair of shoes that reflects the outcome of choices made. Not just our choices, but also the choices of others. The consequences of choices impact the lives of others whether we accept that or not. When you see a person and do not understand the choices they made, consider the shoes they are wearing. Consider whether someone else helped to create the soles of those shoes. Consider whether your choices have made life hard for someone else. Even if they haven’t, and you would surely be a person that God has strengthened to always make the right choices, consider whether you would be willing to walk in those shoes.
When you see a person going through, and want to say that you would do something different, think about their journey. Where are they coming from? Would you be willing to walk the same miles and take the same direction? There are truly times when God directs us a certain way and we don’t understand why. But He does. He knows the way may be hard, but we don’t. He knows He will be there for us even when we don’t feel like He is. He knows the outcome of that direction, even when we don’t understand why we went that way in the first place.
God’s purpose for our lives is not easy, it’s fulfilling. It brings challenges, growth, tears and reward. Our rewards are not just of this world but also eternal. The hard choices and consequences help develop our character. They bring understanding and compassion (maybe even empathy) when we look at the people around us. My shoes are temporal and my soul is eternal. When it’s all said and done, I see that God is developing my character and giving me understanding for those people included in my journey. Whether they judge me or not, I am getting understanding. The shoes I wear are mine, given to me by the Lord.