I used to enjoy seeing my old college friend in my Facebook news feed – but then she had her baby boy. From the moment that child entered the world, his image littered my news feed multiple times every day.
My friend had always been someone I enjoyed keeping up with, but after her son was born, it was like she forgot how to be proud of anything but him. It made me want to hide her from my news feed.
Then I had a conversation with one of her friends. In passing, she mentioned what a blessing that boy had been to his mom. Unbeknownst to me, he came into her life after three miscarriages and years of fertility treatments.
So yeah – you’d better believe his mom was proud.
Several years ago, I worked at a clinic, and one day, I saw an elderly, female coworker coming down the hallway. We were always friendly, and in a moment of immaturity, I thought it would be fun to greet her by doing a little “boo” when she stepped around the corner.
When I did, she screamed, and I mean, she really screamed. I felt helpless and wanted to shoot the woman with a tranquilizer dart to calm her down. I mean, she was embarrassing the heck out of me, and I was afraid people would think I tried to assault her or something.
Finally she caught her breath, and said, “I’m so sorry, but there’s a man who hurt me a long time ago, and he got out of prison recently, and I’m just feeling really scared right now.”
And I was worried about myself.
At another workplace, I stepped out of the elevator one day and began my usual, morning conversation with the receptionist, who was always a warm, friendly lady. The office had recently armed the security guards with real guns, so I made a lame attempt at a joke.
“Are you carrying around a pistol, too?” I asked.
A look of anger shot across the woman’s face, and she spat out the words, “Did the Holy Spirit tell you to say that?”
I was shocked.
“Um – no?” I replied.
“I didn’t think so,” she said, turning to her computer.
I walked away baffled, slightly offended, and thought, That lady is a nut.
One Fact More
Oswald Chambers says, “Jesus says regarding judging – Don’t. . . . There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing.” I love that quote, but so often, I find it easy to presume I’ve got all the information I need to figure out other people’s issues.
And why wouldn’t I? It feels good to presume I know everything.
But on my best days, I remember that I’m a klutz in the hands of a gracious God, and that I’m in no position to ride around on my high horse, pronouncing judgment on anyone else. I also remember people like that angry receptionist and think, I don’t know that lady’s reason for freaking out, but I’m sure it was a good one.