embracing unfamiliar {part 1}

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I like to think of myself as a non judgemental person. A person who can get along with most other people. I was soon to learn that pride comes before the fall.

A little while ago I met someone. Almost upon introduction I made up my mind that I did not like her. I judged her. I formed an opinion of her by the first few words out of her mouth, and dismissed that she could have anything future to say that would change that opinion.

I am ashamed of this.

But it did not last very long before my heart softened and I was given a second chance, not by her, but by the sweetness of a Father in heaven who changes lives one heartbeat at a time. I made up my mind to treat her with respect and civility, and at least meet her with a smile no matter what was returned. In this way I would feel better about myself. In this way I would be a Christian.

So every time after, I met her in this manner. But there was more to learn. God was not finished with me yet. This was not enough. You see a funny thing happens when you open your heart to acceptance. You cannot extend a sincere hand of friendship without charity filling your heart. It is now so obvious to me that what I perceived to be arrogance was not. It was simply a difference in social propriety. I now look upon her in a softer light. You learn that even the most prickly person has goodness in them. Sometimes you must look very hard, but it will be shown to you. I never intended to truly understand this woman. I simply decided to change my actions, but once this decision was made it changed my heart instead. This is where Christianity came into the equation. Not when I simply decided to act Christian to come off the better person. That was quite the opposite.

Then one evening she shared her day with me, something I had not expected. It had been a particularly challenging one for her. And I saw her for what she really is. None of us are the clothes we wear, the house we own, or the friends we claim. And we are certainly not the way we appear to others. We are children of God. He values and loves each and every person, and He asks the same from us.

She is every bit as human as I am. She has weaknesses, but she also has strengths. And there is something I can learn from her.

I would not want to be judged for good and forever by my weaknesses, nor by my worst days. I hope that people will be forgiving and gentle. I wish to be seen by my good points, not the bad. Everything I hope for myself I was unwilling to offer her. I had been the prickly one. I had been the one in need of charity. In the end it was I who changed, not her. And I am grateful for it. I pray that next time I will be able to see more clearly from the start and never deny myself the friendships that may await and the lessons that I can learn from those who may appear upon first impression to have the least to give.

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