In Their Shoes
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We will never fully understand someone else’s life
Reference: Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” (Genesis 31:1 NIV)
Explore: I saw a preview of an upcoming movie where a shoe repairer tries on a pair of shoes he’s fixing and suddenly turns into the person the shoes belong to! It seems that once he discovers this magic he ends up walking in the shoes of many people.
While the movie is clearly fantasy, I would think it gives an interesting understanding of what it is actually like to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”. We will never fully understand someone else’s life and perspective, but we can try to appreciate what life would be like for them.
Application: Jacob went and worked for his father-in-law. He was cheated into working for an additional seven years and then felt he was not paid fairly.
Being a disgruntled worker is not a good thing to be.
However, Jacob still prospered under these conditions, so the extended family became disgruntled, thinking Jacob was cheating his father-in-law out of his wealth. Things were starting to get nasty and it was going to come to a head.
Communication is the key to working out these situations. But I have come to realise that, in life, there are times when misunderstandings cannot be worked through.
If both parties are not willing to gain some understanding of what it is like for the other person then one will always be left feeling disgruntled. We can only make choices for ourselves, we can’t always get the other person to see reason.
In these situations we need to tread carefully and prayerfully. To make choices while still maintaining integrity and respect for others. It is challenging, but it can be done.
Prayer: Lord, we will always encounter differences of opinion at some stage in our life. May we approach these challenges with grace, knowing that in the end the only praise we wish to receive is from You. Amen.
When have you felt disgruntled? How did you work through it?