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Loving People Stand in Another’s Shoes

May 14, 2014

ShoesTitle: Shoes of All Shapes and Sizes

Location: “Seeing Whales” statue at the Edmonds Marina

• With very few exceptions, all people are doing the best they can. We do not get out of bed in the morning telling ourselves: “Today I am deliberately trying to mess up my life and the life of those around me.” Yet so much of what we do wreaks havoc on ourselves and on the ones we love. When we put on the shoes of our lives, we are set to avoid pain and misery and instead find the path to joy and happiness. But oftentimes we don’t end up where we were planning to go.
• When shoes have been worn for a long time, they are set to the feet of the person wearing them and will no longer fit anyone else’s feet comfortably. Everyone’s walk is different. Not just with actual shoes, but also with the walk of life. Most of what we do is influenced by our beliefs, experiences, fears, and dreams. And we often judge the words and actions of others based on our own experiences, fears, and dreams. “I would never do…” or “I would never say…” are often used to describe something that is incomprehensible to us. And that is exactly what it is: incomprehensible to us! Just like what we do is oftentimes incomprehensible to others. In a physical sense, we wear shoes to take us to our goal and protect our feet from pain. Until we know our loved ones’ goals and pains, we cannot truly understand their walk.
• By walking in someone else’s shoes, we gain understanding and compassion for what they are going through, and even carry their burden on their behalf. In some cases they are not even real shoes, but tires on a wheel chair. Jesus walked in our shoes, coming down from heaven to live as a man on Earth, and he carried the burden of our sins. He did so to honor God. How often do we get the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes to carry their burden, but choose not to?

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