I’m learning to pause before comparing what someone is going through and how they’re dealing with it with my own standards or expectations. I pause before comparing sin, priorities, generosity, service, commitment, authenticity, and so on. We are different. We have different experiences, struggles, and baggage.
That’s not to say there aren’t standards. We might declare, “I’m open to everyone dealing with everything in their own way,” but we all have a line we don’t want others to cross. Not every response or behavior is okay. And we shouldn’t lower standards to what we feel is allowable or not reprehensible. When we care for others, whether we know them well or not, we should consider what is healthy for them.
We should care about each others’ responses but also recognize we all have choices. There are consequences to those choices. You might be the one who walks alongside a person as he or she makes choices that send difficult consequences rippling through life. You might need to stand a safe distance away, staying somewhat invested and being available to speak the words needed at a specific time. You might need to step away, trusting that someone else is going to be a better fit to speak into the person’s life at some point.
Choose wisely. Your choices have consequences, too. Your choices affect others in both positive and negative ways.