It would seem obvious that a story is a story. Words in a given language have reasonably specific meanings. When words are combined to construct phrases and sentences, the author’s meaning should be fairly and accurately transparent. Yet, stories that travel from one to another, amplified by distance and time, often take on very different meanings! The same story can be jubilation or heart break. What may bring hope to one can just as easily bring despair to another. Good news often is often not, depending on your context, experiences, and knowledge.
When I read how “the news traveled fast and in no time the leaders and friends back in Jerusalem heard about it—heard that the non-Jewish ‘outsiders’ were now ‘in,’” (Acts 11.1) I am not surprised. Great stories tend to move fast. How they are seen is always contextual. Stating the obvious, your context and mine are different. We may have similar backgrounds, yet we see things in ways that are unique. We can share aspirations and yet see separate paths to our goals. What works for you may not for even been reasonable in my life! It is the natural outcome of individuals, freedom, and the diversity born in both.
I would like to suggest that there is a powerful lesson that we would do well to remember. First, what brings joy to your life and mine may not bring joy to others. Second, it is always important to realize that whatever happens in our life will be known by at least one other in the family. Nothing is totally a secret, no matter how hard we might try to keep it that way. Third, doing what is right will not always bring happiness to everyone.
As we start a new day, take courage, hold hope’s hand, and be aware. You and I will have opportunities to make a difference. We can and should be aware of what can happen. The world needs individuals willing to act with compassion, mercy, and love. The world is reaching for those willing to give, for us.