"Never forget...there are ALWAYS two sides to every story". Not the easiest bite of humble pie to swallow, but certainly some of the best advice my mom ever gave me!
As we come to the close of yet another school year, I must admit, my ears will be grateful for a short break from the 10-year-old, 4th grade, girl drama! We have officially entered the awkward and hormonal stage of raising a pre-teen. Hannah hopped in the car today and said, "Mom, 'Susan' is no longer on my friend list! And it's all because of a boy - a boy I don't even like. He and I are just friends!"
It seems like only yesterday, I was sitting on my rainbow-colored day-bed, listening to New Kids on the Block, and crying to my mom, "Why do girls have to be so mean?!" Her response, "Leah, what did YOU say? How did YOU respond to your friend? What is HER side of the story?" She never just jumped on my band-waggon nor added fuel to my fires. She helped me point my accusing finger back towards me, instilling a life habit of pausing to think...."There are always two sides to every story".
So today, after listening for quite some time, I turned to Hannah. "Well sweetie, do you think you responded the right way? Response is everything. Do you think maybe you were a little grumpy today because you went to bed late last night and you're tired?" She sighed deeply. It's evening now, and I think she is still chewing on my motherly advice. OR maybe she has completely moved on, and I am just hoping for some divine moment when the light bulb comes on and she NEVER struggles in relationships again! Ha Ha:)
I wish I could tell her that it will get easier as she gets older, but the sad truth is, adults can often be as petty as children. Sometimes our flesh gets the best of us.
But WHAT IF...Before we decide to accuse or before we lend an ear to gossip...
WHAT IF, we were to consider this:
THERE ARE ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY
Would there be less fighting in schools?
To consider that maybe the mean girl you hate is being abused at home-she's hurting.
Would we LOVE more and GOSSIP less?
To consider that we can know ALL the latest gossip, but don't love - we know nothing!
Would there be less division in churches?
To consider that just because you end a gripe-session with "We really need to pray for them" doesn't make the session permissible.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit or God,
with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness,
rage and anger,
brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you."
WHAT IF Christ-Followers simply lived this out?