I think there has been a misunderstanding, not between you and me, but between all of us. It seems like everyone has a difference of opinion these days…about everything. We all have the right to vocalize it if we choose to, but just know as soon as you do, there will probably be someone who disagrees with you, and they have their reasons too. I don’t expect you to understand my thoughts, or why I do the things I do. You are not me, you haven’t been through what I have been through. I will never understand why some people say the things they do, do the things they do, or are the way they are, but I can choose to be more understanding. Understanding that I haven’t been through what they have been through, or if I had, I may believe and act just the same as they do.
You may not understand my belief and reliance on God, just like I may not understand an atheists choice to not believe in God. But I do know that what I have experienced and studied may not be the same as what you have experienced and studied, or you would probably believe like me too. I also have not walked a day in your shoes, or have your genetic makeup and personality, so I have no idea why you believe the things you do, or behave the way you do. Do I think atheists are right in their belief? No. I am, however understanding of the fact that they have a reason why they believe the way they do, and maybe one day their experiences and acquired knowledge will change their minds, as mine may about other things too.
Have you ever had a topic or decision that you were so dead set on that you later changed your mind about because of new knowledge or experiences? I know I have! I don’t expect everyone to believe the same as I do about those touchy subjects of religion, politics, vaccines, choices for healthcare, schooling, gun laws, and ways of life. I just ask that we all work on being a little more understanding of the fact that there is usually a reason why people believe, say, and act the way they do that we may have no idea about. What is best for me may not be what is best for you in all circumstances. What is best for you is probably not what is best for me either. I am me, you are you. I only know about what I have been through. I can’t even always understand my own family who I grew up with in the same home, so how could I ever understand a stranger who grew up on the other side of the world? I can’t totally. I can only choose to be understanding. I haven’t always been very understanding, and may not always be these days, but I am sure working on that and am much more understanding than I was at a younger age when only my opinions and what I believed mattered because, well…I was right!
We are all individuals, but each of us individuals coming together makes a community. We choose if our community will be united regardless of beliefs and personalities, or divided regardless of beliefs and based on our individual reactions to others actions and beliefs.
Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance who projected their beliefs because of actions a few people onto all people? Everyone was against them because that was what they believed because of their past experiences, and their personality as well. That doesn’t mean what they believed was right, or wrong, it just means that was their experiences that led them to believe that way and they magnified that experience or generalized it to be an absolute. I may not agree with their perspective, and I believe that generalizations often cause disunity where it doesn’t need to be, but I also know now that experiences might have made them believe the way they do.
You may think some decisions I make are not so smart, or dangerous, but what you are doing is projecting your beliefs, fears, knowledge base, and experiences on me. You may be right. Sometimes opinions and projection of fears can be worth sharing and be helpful, save a life, or spread awareness to those who need it, but not always. It is also possible that the person we think needs to hear our opinions already knows and have thought through all of the things we are telling them about, and may even believe some of those things themselves, and decided on their direction after weighing all of those factors and rising above their own, and others fears and opinions. I love sharing knowledge and hearing others share theirs, but sometimes what we are sharing is just our opinions that we haven’t really educated ourselves on, or what we have been told and led to believe. Most of the time, the knowledge of someone who had been through similar experiences as us, or is just plain more wise than us, could save us a lot of heartache and reaping of consequences if we sought sound advice, and listened before taking action. There is a big difference between hearing voices of fear and opinion that could be holding us back, and voices of wisdom that could help to propel us forward on a better path. Sharing our experiences and knowledge…kindly…with others who need to hear them, and listening with respect, can be so valuable!
What if we are all a little bit wrong, and a little bit right about many of the things we believe? What if someone wiser than us actually knows better than us? What if we realized that? Only you know what you think is best for you at this time, and only I know what I think is best for me with God’s guidance. Maybe our opinions will change in the future, maybe they won’t. What if it was ok for us to each have our own beliefs and ideas, and to know those are based on our individual experiences and knowledge given to us at that time. I think we would be a little more understanding of each other, and the actions of our past selves too.
Our experiences, genetics, education, situations, and upbringings have a lot to do with who we are, how we act, and what we believe, and though I may not understand you, I can choose to be understanding of the fact that I haven’t walked in your shoes. I can choose to show mercy and grace, believe the best, and be understanding even when I don’t understand.
I hope you and I can be these things to those we come across today, even the frequent encounters with those road ragers, grumpy pants, and the short comings of those in our own homes that could easily make us upset previously. Let’s choose to be understanding, even when we don’t quite understand. To give the benefit of the doubt more often. I am pretty sure that it will not only make our days and relationships better, but others as well.
Understanding – a state of cooperative or mutually tolerant relations between people.
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?