The Broken Bottle
I dropped two empty bottles of Topo Chico in my garage on the way to the recycling bin recently. (Thank goodness they were empty! Otherwise this would just be a very sad story!)
One of the dropped bottles broke and the other did not.
I don't know why my brain works the way that it does but as I was cleaning up the many, many shards of broken glass, I began thinking about the fact that only one of the bottles broke.
I dropped them both at the exact same time. They fell from the exact same height in my, apparently, unsteady arms. One broke instantly, into about a thousand pieces. The other bounced like a strange glass ball, spun around and rolled to an uncracked stop on the cement garage floor.
I guess I am just a "Why?" person, because I found it really interesting that the bottles didn't have identical or even similar results.
It took a while to find, sweep and then vacuum (yes! I ultimately vacuumed my garage floor!) up all the pieces of glass and glass dust. My brain kept mulling it all over.
There really was no difference in those bottles or in the tumble they took. Someone much smarter than me might be able to apply some law of physics or other science thing, ;) but simply stated they just had different responses to the same experience.
As people, aren't we the same?
We are alike in many ways and there are things we all have in common.
But when it comes to how we respond to our experiences we have a very wide range of possible reactions.
The reminder for me was that it is best not to judge the various responses people have to situations in life. Especially situations where I think I know exactly how I would respond or maybe even did respond.
Jesus advised against such things when he said:
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged." Matthew 7:1
Ultimately he knew we could never know or understand exactly what someone else is truly feeling or experiencing. That knowledge is left to him alone. We don't have it and it's foolish to think that we do. We can and should pray for empathy. We should listen. Pray for the words to say and the words to pray. We can share our own experiences and should, in order to identify with and provide comfort to another.
But can we leave, can I leave, the correcting and assessing of them and their responses to their Creator?
Rather than coming to conclusions on the deeds and actions of others we have a great list of better things we can do:
"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15
"...comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:4
"...pray for one another." James 5:16
The other great thing to do is simply read the Bible. Do you know what the Bible is full of? Stories of TONS of people who all had varying responses to the same experience: an encounter with God.
They responded with joy, fear, worship, worry, doubt, belief, love, lif-change, repentance, uncertainty, freedom, obedience, selfishness, devotion and much much more.
And God was able to handle each and every one of the varying responses. He's kind of awesome that way.
We all experience brokenness. When we do we want someone to come alongside us to help pick up the pieces, not judge how or why those pieces came to be.
So, let's grab a broom, or a vacuum!, and leave the rest up to our loving and capable God.