Understanding what lies behind an action is not always easy. Whatever you might think, it may, or may not, have any link to the intent of the one taking the action, including yourself.
In the middle of mid-town Manhattan is a wonderful stone building. The classically carved stone stands proud, all six stories, even though it is overwhelmed by the skyscrapers on every side. I often wonder what type of banking happens inside. I imagine well-dressed men and women occupying their ornate desks, writing with wonderful fountain pens, nursing their home made espresso, and taking the occasional call from private clients. The name, as forgetful as it is obscure, doesn’t really help tell the story. It is mysterious, formal, and oddly inviting.
On a crisp sunny December day, I walked by late in the morning. The doorman was almost finished sweeping the bottom stair. The place was immaculate, except for the top, right step. Perfectly placed in the corner was an extremely large, I assume dog, dropping. What was that?
I have no idea who or what left the drop. I have no idea why the doorman cleaned everything except that one spot. I have no idea of the motive of anyone in the picture.
Too often, I assume I know the heart of the people I meet. I even think I know what motivates God. Ironically, “King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent messengers with greetings and a gift to Hezekiah. He had heard that Hezekiah had been sick and was now well.” (Isaiah 39.1) Hezekiah assumed it knew the motives. In each case there was little to no link with the truth.
Today is an opportunity for you and I to assume the best, yet always stay open to the true motives around us. Beginning with God, assume everything is in love yet take the time to study, experience, and see what lies behind. Follow the same pattern with your own soul; assume the best yet take the time to reflect, understand, and learn. Above all, be gracious and forgiving, especially to yourself.
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