Your world view,
Your political views,
Even how you view others all, somehow or another, stem from past experiences and circumstances. In many ways, who we are has much to do whith what we have experienced, the culture in which we grew up, as well as many other factors.
I once asked my youth group why they were Christians. They all gave The correct churchy answers that we would expect. I then informed them that they were probably Christians because their parents were Christians and had raised them to be Christians, or Because they grew up in the Bible belt. If they would have been born somewhere in the middle east to a Muslim family, there is a good chance they would be Muslim.
This is something I have to constantly remind myself, especially when I come across people that are not so easy to love. I try to imagine why that person is so mean. Why that person feels the need to belittle everyone else around him. Why that person is so defensive. Why that person ______________. There is usually a reason.
Everyone has a story.
I am always reminded of this truth while viewing a particular television series. Thanks to Netflix, my wife and I recently started watching "Lost", And even though we already know the ending is going to suck, we still find ourselves captivated by the stories.
The series begins immediately after a plane has crashed on a (seemingly) deserted island where just over 40 people have somehow survived. We then get to meet some of the characters and watch how they react to having just somehow survived a horrific crash and are now forced to come together with total strangers in order to survive. Some of the characters you immediately like, and some not so much. But then there are those characters that you just despise. They are mean, selfish, and it seems like they do things just so everyone else will hate them as well.
The way Lost is written is brilliant for many reasons. One thing I love is that we always meet the characters as they are, and then, through series of flash backs, we see how they became that way. We then see why some of them are selfish, why they push everyone else away, and why they are so mean.
There are several people on the show that we started out not liking, but after seeing what they had been through, after part of their story was revealed, our dislike for them turned to compassion. Instead of disliking them, I start thinking to myself, "yeh, I would probably be that way too if I had experienced what they have."
Too bad, we don't have "flash backs" in real life. Too bad we can't see what others have been through, what makes them the way they are. Too bad we forget that everyone has a story to tell.
Most of the time, however, if we would take a few minutes to get to know a person, to listen to their story...
Maybe then we would begin seeing, not only ourselves, but the Divine in (the) "others".
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