Are you a people watcher? Have you ever sat on a park bench or on a restaurant patio watching people go by? Do you ever think about what their lives must be like? These people all have different backgrounds, engrossed in different lives and circumstances, and have varying kinds of jobs. Each has a different family life and relationships. Yet they are all the same in one aspect, they are all important. They are important to those who love them. They are important to themselves as far as they have a sense of self-esteem and self-worth within them.
What we cannot see are their problems. We have no idea of the stress or emotional pain they might be suffering. We cannot know the heartache they might be experiencing because of the loss of a spouse or a child. They may be going through the turmoil of a broken relationship. Sometimes it is virtually impossible to read faces. They do not always portray true inner feelings.
Why do I say all this? I am reminded that until we walk in other people’s shoes we have no idea the depth or intensity of their situation. I used to wonder why some people looked so miserable and thought they should cheer up. Then one day I realized that I had no idea of what they were going through and therefore I had no right to judge them because of their facial expression.
Because I was unaware of their circumstances, it taught me to be loving and patient with those who looked unhappy and to be more understanding. What could I do to compensate? Not a lot, except I could offer a smile and seek to encourage them, but certainly, never to judge them any more.