Today’s article is another installment in Brother P.’s column, “Lessons From the Nursing Home.”
I am an elder in the church, and I am the greatest, most righteous person you will ever know.
Have you ever heard an elder say that?? (I hope not.) Have you ever suspected an elder thought that by the way he speaks or his mannerisms?
At the nursing home, I had a co-worker tell me, “I just can’t stand her!” My mind quickly went to the resident that he was talking about, and I couldn’t believe it. The resident and my co-worker are both very nice people and both seem to get along together very well … I just couldn’t understand it.
When you think of the phrase, “I just can’t stand her,” what do you think that means?
In past blog articles, I’ve mentioned to you that part of my job is to walk with the residents in the nursing home where I work, but I probably forgot to mention that another part of my job is to help people stand up. So, when my co-worker said that he couldn’t “stand her,” he meant that he could not help the resident stand on her feet.
Sometimes we think we know what someone else is thinking, and we run with our thoughts. Solomon in Ecclesiastes takes this a step further and even addresses the situation in which you do know what the other person is thinking:
“Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.” (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22)
Maybe we should give that aforementioned elder and our co-workers — and our spouses and friends and everyone else for that matter — the benefit of the doubt. Maybe we’re adding to their words. Perhaps they didn’t mean what they said … maybe they did, and they are in need of a little forgiveness …
Please don’t completely write me off because of my miscommunications or my mistakes.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.