There is an old proverb that states...don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. Though this old proverb isn't found in the Bible, I have seen God use it in my life over and over again...to the point that my spiritual closet is overflowing with shoes. Imelda Marcos has nothing on me!
God has an incredible sense of humor to take me, a woman who hates to wear shoes, and then have me walk in another's shoes for a while. You see, I tend to be very judgmental. I told you in the last post that I have lived most of my life assuming that everything is either black or white, wrong or right. I have often looked at someone and made an immediate judgment based on my limited perception of their life. Of course, I assume that if I were in that situation, I would do it differently. Here in lies the humor...God often, then, puts me in that very same situation and rarely do I do anything different.
Let me give you some examples from my life. As you see the humor, picture a spiritual closet of shoes overflowing because there are many more examples of this in my life!
*All through high school, I couldn't imagine why anyone would go to a Christian school. I loved my years in public high school. However, I made a fool of myself, more than once, speaking out on why public high school was so much better than Christian high school. God gave me a pair of Christian school shoes to don when I went to college. They are some of my favorites in my spiritual closet. I learned that though they are different, there are joys in both types of educational institutions.
*Chad and I married when I was 25. This gave me a few years of being single. Unfortunately, it also gave me gave me a few years to develop bias against married couples who seemed to "forget their friends" after they got married. I loved being a newlywed, but I know that I lost at least one friend because I forgot her.
*When I was expecting Eric 13 years ago, I would watch parents in public places (restaurants, stores, church, etc) and think, "I will NEVER let my child behave THAT way!" Ha! God must have just been chuckling knowing that by the time my third child came, there was no misbehavior that hadn't been done by my own children!
*I used to have a big soap box that I would drag out to any audience that I could find and preach against the dangers and disasters of home schooling. I thought there was no greater sin a parent could do against their own children than to keep them home and not "socialize" them. Most days I feel like my home school shoes are worn out but some how God keeps me going in them!
*Self-discipline is not one of my strong suits. A few years ago, I would not have been able to imagine denying myself anything. When I would see people chose not to buy something because they were waiting for something else, I would think "they're crazy! You only live once and if you can afford it (or if you have enough credit) go for it!" After spending a couple of years paying off dumb debt, I now wear a pair of frugal shoes. These shoes are very freeing and comfortable but I never thought they would be in my shoe closet!
Those are just a few examples. It seems like most every time I have judged someone for how they respond to a situation in their life, God has given me a pair of their shoes and had me start walking in them. There are shoes in my spiritual closet that totally embarrass me and I hate talking about them. There are others that have become favorites even though, at one time, I would have refused to wear them. There are some that I wore for a season and others that I still wear.
I joke about my overflowing spiritual shoe closet, but, honestly, I am so thankful for each and every pair of shoes. Though several of them pinched my toes and left blisters on my heels, they also helped shape me. These shoes have taken me places I would not have gone on my own and led me to people that I wouldn't have met on my own.
More than anything else, my overflowing shoe closet has led me to be less judgmental. Some day, I hope, I won't be walking in anyone else's shoes because I have learned the meaning of...don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. I hope I don't have to ask God to build me a new shoe closet before then!