I’ve been giving some thought to the peaks and valleys that make up this landscape called life.
At times, the mountains we are tasked with climbing seem impossibly high, while the valleys into which we descend seem far from the sun’s light. We traverse raging rapids, as well as enjoy the occasional respite of a gentle stream; we feel the burn of blistering heat, and the cooling waves of a much-needed breeze. This landscape translates into joy, sorrow, pleasure, pain, and a myriad of other experiences and emotions.
There are obstacles. Some, we experience for a few passing moments, while others, we battle or endure for the better part of a lifetime. Some, we choose. Others are chosen for us, by environment, by circumstance, maybe even by our genes.
We each have a deeply personal experience while we are here on this earth. No two lives are exactly alike. We each fight battles that at times, are very difficult to understand.
But here’s something we can understand:
Casting stones is a choice. Further, casting stones can be cast aside.
It’s understandable that we want to explain the difficulties of life. As humans, we have an innate need to explain what’s going on around us. ‘What’s the root cause?’ we want to know. Why is someone dealing with disease, disability, illness, cancer, depression, divorce, abuse, violence, or some other trial?
In some cases, answers are readily available. Other times, there are no answers – or at least, no satisfactory answers. Regardless of the answers or lack of them, regardless of how the obstacle came about, we have a choice in how we respond to those who are suffering. We have a choice in how we educate, teach, and spread awareness about these things that trouble us.
Whether we lift and encourage, or diminish and discourage – it’s a choice.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t share our deeply personal journeys of pain and heartache. It doesn’t mean that we have to turn a blind eye to injustice, burying painful experiences deep within ourselves, for fear of inadvertently casting a stone. It also doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everything and everyone.
It does mean that we should be less judgmental of the heartache and suffering of others.
It means when we see others suffering, robbed, stripped, and dying along the proverbial highway of life, rather than haughtily distancing ourselves while wondering how they brought about such misfortune, we choose to follow the example of the Good Samaritan.
We show compassion.
We bind wounds.
We give shelter.
We treat them as we would want to be treated.
Instead of casting stones, we can choose to pave pathways of hope.
Our struggles here on this earth are part of the reason we’re here. They bring about learning and growth. They give us the chance to lift each other, share our experiences, and ultimately, to choose whom we will serve and how we will live our lives.
Our loving Heavenly Father has far more compassion for our broken spirits and bodies than we can fully comprehend. Only He truly knows our minds and our hearts.