The way we view the world is different for everyone. Our experiences are ours and ours alone. We can’t walk in each other’s shoes and think what they’re thinking (although that would make things much more simple). When we experience something, it paints us an emotion for the next time we interact with a similar situation. If I win a ten thousand dollar lottery, I’m probably going to associate a lottery ticket with winning money. It will give me adrenaline to buy that ticket, excitement to scratch off the numbers, but it won’t have the same result. Odds are I’d probably win back the amount of money I bought the ticket for.
The things we go through shape our mindset. When you look at someone who has opposing views, are you seeing them from your mindset? One of my favorite Biblical stories is the story of the Good Samaritan. If you know the story, great. If not: here’s a rundown. A Jewish man gets robbed, beaten, and left for dead by the side of the road. A priest sees him and passes him by, a Levite sees him and passes him by but then a Gentile sees the man and feels sympathy for him and decides to help him. The relationship between Jews and Gentiles are all but nonexistent. This holds meaning because the Gentile was the most unlikely person in the story to reach out a hand to the injured man.
In this same way we must act to the people who disagree with us. If we saw them beaten and ruined by the side of the road, would we stop and help them? I even struggle with this myself. Sometimes I’ll find myself in the depths of the Facebook comment section and the comments I see are atrocious. The way that people speak when they’re behind a screen is astounding. They say things online to strangers they’ve never met even though they would never repeat it publicly or to their friends. It does make me mad but where does that leave me? It won’t make me feel better to write a nasty comment back to them.
A good mindset is important for appreciation of doing the right thing. What do you think might have gone through the gentile’s mind when he helped the Jewish man. Do you think he thought “Well he doesn’t believe the same thing as me, I should leave him there” or “it’s what he deserves”? Or do you think he forgot all about the divide and saw the man’s humanity? The story was a parable told by Jesus and the Gentile was to represent Jesus. A stranger who no one knows, the God who everyone thinks is unloving and vengeful but instead takes your hand and guides you to safety.
There is a slippery slope that can bring our mindsets into a brick wall. The second we hit that wall we close up, shut everyone out, and hate anyone who tries to come near. We set our minds on the things we hate. Not only are we forgetting the blessings around us, we’re losing our own humanity in the process. We were not created to hate each other. We were created to love and to showcase kindness.
Hope you’re all doing well. See you next week.