Others (1,112)

April 10th, 2011

I guess it begins with me—even though I do not want to pass along the impression of any form of selfishness.It’s just that if I can’t find a space of contentment within my own human life, it’s rather doubtful that I am either going to be able to assist you or even grant you the opportunity to pursue yourself.

So once I get me rolling, I find myself a life companion. You know, that old “the two shall become one flesh” concept. I don’t know whether it’s two brains stuffed into one body or one body occupying a single brain, or two bodies with two brains, just pretending they’re one. But this life companion is allowed the most access to my inner chambers of “me.” At least, that’s the idea.

Out of that relationship often comes children—offspring. The fruit of the loins, to go Biblical on you. It is an alluring possibility to be able to create Xeroxes of oneself—at least from a genetic aspect. We end up loving them because they came from us, and “us,” of course, originated with “me.”

So this leads to what we call a family, which is extended portions of that, where we generously include the offspring of brothers and sisters, and even those who are vaguely related to cousins. We don’t see them very often, but we feel an inexplicable bond with them at the same time and occasionally insist on reunions.

Coming right behind the family circle are close friends. Maybe we knew them since school. Maybe we have a common interest. Maybe we shared a similar burden. Anyway, they get included as part of the family, who encircle the children, brought about through a union with a companion, which began with me.

Then on the outskirts of those close friends are what we might call “far out friends.” We played football with them in high school. We met them once on a fishing trip and still send Christmas cards back and forth. We don’t hear from them very often and unfortunately, when we do, it’s usually a bit of bad news about illness or some need for prayer.

Then there are those individuals we meet in our workplace. Let’s call them “job buds.” We like ’em. And we can really stir up a good conversation about cubicle business, some local gossip around the water cooler and occasionally they will show us a picture of their children—although we wouldn’t recognize the tyke if we were to see him in a mall.

About once a week we interact with some folks we might know as “church pew-ers.” These relationships are usually a bit more superficial—more talk about the weather and how the week went rather than any deep concerns.

Let’s not forget the “commerce call-outs”—those people walking around that we meet at the bank and grocery store, and we are proud that we finally learned their first name so we aren’t be embarrassed by referring to them as “hey, you.” Definitely just conversations about weather with these passers-by.

And then there is an unusual group I would dub “familiar strangers”—people we see but we don’t know who they are, but we tend to nod to them as if we’re acquainted although no words have actually ever been exchanged.

Yes, this is a list of the interactions we have with our fellow-travelers.

And then we come to one final group.


These are the people we will never meet, or have chosen to avoid, don’t like, don’t think we would like, or they live so far away in a strange land that they never cross our minds. Others.

Don’t you think it’s interesting that Jesus said that these are the people we should “do unto as we would have done unto ourselves?” Yes. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

You see, it’s pretty easy to love me, embrace my life companion, treasure my children, enjoy my family, gather with close friends, send a shout-out to far-out friends, gossip with job buds, pray the Lord’s Prayer with the church pew-ers, toss a smile to our commerce call-outs and comically raise an eyebrow to familiar strangers. What’s tough is to take those people we will never meet or don’t particularly care for and create a climate that allows them to be budding human beings without our interference.

Because after all, we will not be judged on how we treated our children. We will be evaluated in the heavens by the latitude and grace we extended to strangers. How do we handle others?

I think God only requires two things: courtesy and freedom—granting people the courtesy of being considered one of God’s children at all times and the freedom to pursue their own paths without prejudice or bigotry coming from us.

Yes—do unto others. Others—those folks that we either will never meet or we have decided we don’t like. They will be the ones that determine whether or not our passage of time was worthy of eternity or just a selfish lark emanating from our own cloister of “me.”

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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