Walk a mile in another person’s shoes!

We’ve heard this before in response to understanding, and not judging, another person. This call to empathy is easier said than done. However, the more I live and the more I learn, both about myself and in others, I am recognizing the complexity of humanity.

People, we, are complicated.

From nature-nurture, to the Freudian analysis of our early years, to what happens to us and by us, we a convoluted species.

I feel this most when I make a mistake. I look back and wonder how and why I acted in that way. It takes some unpacking to get to the heart of the matter. Perhaps something was unprocessed. Maybe I was just tired or having a bad day.

After a mistake, I feel bad. Then, I internally ask for that person’s understanding. I hope they grant me the mercy because of my humanity.

I raise this because most days, especially at work, I see and hear the best and not so best of those around me. When I invite God into my reflection, I am invited to understand.

It goes beyond the benefit of the doubt and it doesn’t ignore accountability. It does invite forgiveness, patience and love.

In April 2014, Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square the following:

“But, to understand the situation in depth, as God understands, this is the effect of this gift. And Jesus wanted to send the Holy Spirit so that we could have this gift so that we can all see things as God understands, with the intelligence of God.”

The Holy Father added, “This is a beautiful gift that the Lord has given us all. It is the gift with which the Holy Spirit brings us into intimacy with God and makes us part of the plan of love that He is weaving into the plots of our lives and history. It helps us to understand the true meaning of history.”

From complexity to understanding, we can “see as God understands.” What a beautiful image. Although difficult, this is our challenge as we live a life of peace.

If you are finding this too difficult, if you cannot understand, or if something or someone is bothering you, recall the words of Carl Jung: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

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