Simple Musings

Walking In Another’s Skin

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“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” – To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus Finch

I am letting these words soak in, fully saturating each and every dusty corner of my mind. Trying to somehow ensure my entire being understands its meaning.

How often do I judge, allowing harsh opinions to escape my lips? I claim to walk in grace, in understanding, in love.

The librarian sharply scolds my sweet girl for unknowingly doing something wrong–leaning on the forbidden dividing rope. She brings my dear girl to sobs of humiliation. She is an old and evil lady, and I am fuming as only a mom can.

I stop. What if she just found out she has cancer? What if her own grown daughter is no more? I do not know. I am completely unaware of her story, her hardships. Perhaps she really is just a grumpy old lady who has no problem with scaring sweet children. But, what if there is something more? Who I am to judge?

I am trying to remember this, forever remember this, each day. Before I jump to conclusions, yell out my rants, condemn and crucify, may I first remember I have never walked in anyone’s skin but my own.

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37 thoughts on “Walking In Another’s Skin

  1. I absolutely love this book, especially for Atticus. He really is the heart and soul of the novel. I love this post, because it reminds me of a lesson I have to remember sometimes. I try to remember this constantly, because everyone comes from their own walk of life and has their own issues. Thank you for another great post!

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    1. This book is definitely one of my all time favorites. It can be much easier to talk the talk though. I too have to constantly remind myself of its truth. Thanks for your encouragement!!

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  2. This was such a beautiful post to read as I woke up this morning. You are so right about this. More often than not, everyone is caring their own cross. They stumble and act in ways they usually would not, simply because of the weight of their trials. I am inspired that you thought of this in one of those “momma bear moments” though, when protective emotions run high. In those moments, I feel like compassion does not come easy to me. Thank you for this reminder, Sasha. 🙂

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  3. One of the best pieces I ever got from my friend Mary (last year) was that “You don’t know what they’ve gone through to get to this point (where they are meeting you).” Same thing as you’re saying here, but for whatever reason, the way she put it, just resonated with me. I’m sure if someone met me last year and didn’t really get to know me, they would’ve thought I was most miserable person in the world. Between those two things, I’m really trying on this now…to not only think about but actually find out where someone has come from to get to the point where they are intersecting with me and to remember that I’m actually quite nice but there was a point where that was the last thing someone would’ve seen if they hadn’t taken time to get to really know me.

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    1. Wow, Torrie, from all your writing and comments I would have never guessed this about you. It really goes to show how you MUST stay open and loving to others, no matter how they may come across on the exterior.

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  4. Great advice and definitely something everyone (including myself) should keep in mind. One of my best friends always said, “Always try to give everyone you meet a little bit of grace. You don’t know their story, and they don’t know yours…” I’ve always carried those words with me, and even more so now that I’m a mom. It’s easy for us to react harshly when something doesn’t go our way, but it takes a tremendous amount of grace to stop and think before we feel and unleash something we’ll eventually regret. Thank you for sharing something so profound with us.

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    1. Oh, I love your friends quote and am going to try to remember this myself! Grace sums it up perfectly. We are all in need of it, so why not share some with those we encounter each day? Thanks for sharing this Maria!!

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  5. This is wonderful. I just finished reading the story of the woman caught in adultery this morning. Such a fitting post for my morning reading.
    But, I hear you loud and clear. At least you kept your mouth shut towards her. I probably would have given her a piece of mind. One thing that’s been a bit of a focus for me these past couple of years is that there is great wisdom in silence. I think you were wise.
    🙂

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    1. I love how you reminded me of this story!! How perfectly it fits into the lesson I have been learning–to never be the first to throw the stone.

      I later wondered if I should have said something for my daughter’s sake, to stick up for her. I am glad to hear you felt my silence was the right decision. The two of us later talked about how the lady did not do a nice thing to her, but sometimes people do not realize they are being so mean to us. 🙂

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    1. As a mom, the moment is the hardest one imaginable! I really feel the same as you though, hurting people hurt people. We are born whole and happy, it is life’s hardships which cause hard hearts and sorrowful souls.

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  6. I hear what you’re saying here, and trying to have compassion for the people who are so rude is a worthwhile practice. I don’t think, though, that having a bad day is a good excuse for lashing out at the innocent, like your daughter. It’s still a mistake—and one I would point out.

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    1. I later wondered if I should have said something. I do think, though, that my daughter’s quivering lip and fast forming tears did break the lady down a little. She kind of tried to make amends in her rough form of ways. I hoped she really did feel some sympathy later. Perhaps most kids just stick their tongue out at her. My girl is especially sensitive. 🙂

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  7. I guess it’s called ‘not taking anything personally’ – knowing that it’s not ever about you, not really. We learn that though, and it’s really hard until you do, and even then, it’s still hard. Funny, I just posted something along those lines on Facebook – you know how sometimes themes develop? 💜

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  8. My dear friend and mentor, J.J., and I would talk about the language of “love and intimacy” (vulnerable, honest, and respectful involvement) versus the language of “power and judgement”. It’s not just the words we use, but also the way in which we approach people and process situations. Your entry sparked many memories of those conversations.

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  9. You are so right. We never really know what makes people the way they are. And every person has their own story, their own monsters in their closets, their own untold sorrows. It’s hard not to jump to conclusions when we’re living our daily lives, but it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture too. Thanks for the reminder, Sasha 😉

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  10. My heart just hurt for your sweet little girl! And for you. It’s so hard to watch things like that as a mom and not want to jump to conclusions and think ill. Probably one of the hardest lessons in life, especially when you feel you aren’t getting the same non-judgemental treatment (like that your daughter so innocently leaning on the rope was a malicious act of defiance and destruction). I so admire your patience and trying to look for understanding. You are amazing. Give that sweet girl an extra hug from me, because I feel for her!

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    1. Aw, thanks!! Her heart was so broken she cried all the way home. Once inside, we cuddled for a very, very long time. A good thing about being three is the gift of forgiveness. After a long cry she was back to herself, and completely over the entire thing. It seems they teach us the way it really ought to be. 🙂

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  11. Oh how UN-gently I was reminded of this while walking through a parking lot one day with my 4 small children. We were walking out of the YMCA after picking up my oldest (age 8) from swim practice. My kids were apparently excited to each be first to the van…and they took off. So as not to be ‘that crazy, screaming mother’ I called after them. But since running=joyful screaming with my children…they did not (or chose not) to hear me. As a woman in an SUV came around the bend in the parking lot and saw them…she slowed down. As she approached me…she glared at me through her window and was speaking to me as if I could hear. I can only imagine what she was saying. I did. I played her hurtful words that I never heard…over and over that night. The enemy had used my imagination to assume the worst of this woman. I could SEE that she was not extending compassion by her expression but I did not KNOW what she said. I continued to feel like the ‘awful-I-can’t-and-have-stopped-trying-to-control-my-children’ mother that I thought I appeared to be…UNTIL…God spoke.

    “Have you ever judged by sight? Cast your stone Vanesa. Have you seen a mother frazzled and deemed her not in control? Cast your unjust stone.”

    That is not what compassion and grace look like. Let’s make it so simple it would be impossible to NOT understand. Treat others as you want to be treated. Put your stone back in its holster and show Me(Christ) to people when they deserve it least! ❤ Thanks for the reminder Sasha…I needed it! =)

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