I hope the following story makes you smile. I always say God has a sense of humor and I see it over and over in my life.
To help you understand the short story I am about to tell, I need give you a little background. I grew up in a very small town and lived the Front 9 in a very simple way. No complaints at all! We went on family vacation every summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a week and that was about all the traveling we did when I was growing up.
When I was very young, we went to the beach but my dad changed our vacations to the mountains. He wanted a cooler vacation since he worked in the hot sun in the summers building roads. It was awesome. We went with family, aunts, uncles and cousins. I would not trade it for anything.
When I married Bill, I realized he had traveled to many places and been exposed to more of the “world” than me, especially when it came to vacations and extracurricular activities. One big difference in our upbringing was that I did not grow up being a member of a country club. In the latter part of the Front 9 of my life, I learned what it meant to be a member of a Country Club. Our kids have certainly benefited from it through the areas of golf and friends they have made and, I have enjoyed it as well.
So hear goes the short but funny story…
My dad came to spend the weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. It was a wonderful time. We ended Sunday by taking him to the “country club” for a buffet lunch. We asked for a lakefront view table. We enjoyed the meal and as we were sitting at the table, we observed several obvious club members outside pulling lounges on the grass to sunbathe. My dad was so innocent and cute when he asked, “Do they live here?” We all smiled and said, “No, Papa. There is a pool close by that you don’t see from our view and they have come to swim.”
My Dad had a limited view from his seat and couldn’t see the pool. He also didn’t realize that a country club usually has a pool for its members, since he has no knowledge of country clubs and their amenities. His question was so “cute” to me. You don’t know what you don’t know. I smiled to myself over my dad’s innocent question of honestly “not knowing!”
So many times in life we might judge someone or a situation when we don’t have the whole picture. We may have a limited view from where we are sitting. We may not have the experience or background on what we are seeing or hearing to truly know what we should know to make a judgement. Realizing if we knew, we might smile or give grace that is needed.
I am reminded of the scripture found in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” It is so easy to judge another and forget to consider what else might be going on behind the scenes. We forget that we could very well be in that same situation. How would we want others to see us? Respond to us? You don’t know what you don’t know.
God reminded me on Sunday, through my dad’s innocent question due to his lack of understanding, that we must remind ourselves constantly that we may not have the “whole” picture. When interacting with others, giving people the benefit of the doubt is a great thing at times. Realizing everyone has “sludge” that they deal with, or have experienced at times, that can contribute to the “unseen.”
Realize that someone might be “drowning” right before your very eyes and you don’t even see it. The “life preserver” you throw them…is giving grace and the benefit of the doubt.
Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”