Walk a mile in my shoes (moccasin, whatever)…we have all heard the proverb. What I am wondering is: WHY? Does it really hold up?
Of course, the point is that if I look at life through another’s eyes and experiences then I will understand where they are coming from and their ideas and actions will be reasonable, if not good.
If I walked a mile in say Hitler, Pol Pot, or Jack the Ripper’s shoes; would it matter? Did I miss something? Am I so insensitive as to not understand their feelings and motivations? Maybe, maybe not. But does it matter? Can I not make a rational assessment of them on the evidence before me?
Conversely, do I need to walk a mile in Corrie Ten Boom, Mother Teresa, or Martha Washington’s shoes? Can I use my normal faculties of observation and perception to make a rational assessment of the justifiability of their motives and actions? Are we, or are we not, able to understand each other in this human condition?
“Before you accuse, criticize, or abuse“…. We have heard it a zillion times, right? So, we are not to assess the behavior of a foul mouthed, screaming, druggie in the parking lot because we don’t know what brought them to these ridiculous decisions. Really? Okay, their life has been hard–frankly it sucks, does that mitigate their ugly behavior? Nope. The divorcée with three kids at home is out sleeping around, looking for love in all the wrong places because she needs affirmation…. That does not change a reasoned assessment that she is currently making all the wrong choices, even without all the gory details. Joe Blow robs a bank, do I need to experience his lost feelings when his dad went to jail for selling drugs (or whatever)? Does that change the current decision? Should it change a fair punishment for a like crime? Hmmmmmm.
It seems to me that maybe we should do a lot less accepting destructive behavior, and a whole lot more expecting people to own up to who and what they have made of themselves today. Perhaps it should be, “I will show you the better trail, just follow in my footsteps.”