On the wall in my parents house is a small plaque that reads something like "Grant that I may not judge my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins." Last night I walked a mile in my own slippers (on the treadmill) and it got me to thinking...
My slippers are not very pretty anymore. They attract dirt and wood chips cling to them. The decorative little fuzz balls have come off the right foot leaving the pair mismatched. Though I have thrown them through the wash several times since receiving them (at Christmas), they still look rather, um..., "well loved"? I wear them around the house every day and they even traveled along with me to San Francisco two weeks ago. They are comfy and my feet are happy wearing them, but I'm not sure anyone else would find them very appealing.
Of course, real moccasins(or shoes) is not what the proverb is referring to. It is rather an encouragement to stop and take a look at life through the eyes of someone else. Instead of being quick to judge the words or actions of my brother, it is a call to look at life from a different perspective, to figuratively "put on the shoes of my neighbor" and "take a little walk".
I try to follow that bit of advice, even though the shoes of another often feel uncomfortable. Sometimes they are too big and other times they pinch a bit. Rarely do shoes other than my own feel completely comfortable and, quite honestly, there are times when just hobbling down the driveway in someone else's footwear would be painful. I prefer to wear my own for a variety of reasons.
Obviously the writer of this little proverb didn't expect one to wear the shoes, walk the mile, and then feel free to judge and criticize. Instead it was a warning against being hasty in judgment, to look for understanding. The Bible has its own warning, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20.
If I step on your toes, I'm sorry. It is not my purpose in this blog to judge or criticize. Instead I am looking inward, reflecting on my own heart and actions, hoping to catch a glimpse of life from another perspective and be an encouragement to others.
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