Posted by: Jo | August 23, 2013

You Don’t Know My Story

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (John 7:24)

image Just recently one of my daughters was going into one of those expensive coffee shops to buy herself a cup of coffee and as she arrived at the door, she had to pass a man in a wheel chair begging for money. Her first reaction was one of annoyance, but as she made her purchase, she suddenly felt contrite and realised she knew nothing about that man and also realised she didn’t know his story or any of the circumstances that may have caused his present predicament, so she quickly returned to give him some money.

“You don’t know my story” This sad statement can be the reason for so much misjudging in our present society. We make snap judgments about those who may look and act differently from us. We quickly label, losers, those who we think have not quite made the grade. We quickly dismiss those broken ones, somehow blaming them for their own misfortune. We quickly avoid those who seem to have so many problems, thinking it must be their fault somehow. Knowing another’s story is not a top priority with most people. We greet each other with the perfunctory, “How are you?” not really listening to the reply or really being concerned with the other’s welfare. Many of us choose to answer that question with the cover up answer, “I am fine.” because we feel the questioner does not care about the true answer.

How can we, who follow the Lord Jesus, listen closely to those who are hurting or have been wounded in some way, so we get to know their real story?image

When my mother was getting ready to go out somewhere special she would often say to my father. “Just give me time to put on my face.” She of course was referring to her makeup, but many of us are guilty of covering up some inner pain by putting on the pleasant face of pretending everything is just fine. One of the ways to learn another’s story is to listen closely to what is behind that meaningless, “I am fine.”

Scripture begs us to have compassionate hearts towards one another.

“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

I decided to go to the dictionary for the definition of compassion. What a beautiful word! This is what I read;

com·pas·sion [kuhm-pash-uhn] – understanding or empathy for the suffering of others, co suffering , walking beside, suffering together with

Our greatest example of compassion is the Lord Jesus himself;

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

Many of us have experienced trials in our lives where we have felt harassed and helpless, that is when we most need a compassionate listener to hear our story, someone to have empathy, to walk beside us, to understand the pain which we keep hiding from others.

We all have to be astute in our listening skills, not accepting “I am fine.” when we sense that a friend/ a family member/ one of our church congregation needs to unburden their story.

We all have to be wary of judging a person/ an incident / random rumours before we know the story. image

We also have to be willing to tell our stories when we know the person asking is a compassionate follower of Jesus Christ, and knowing that our Heavenly Father is filled with compassion for all his children.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22)


  1. Thank you for linking my blog post, and for liking it as well. I appreciate it!


  2. All so true Jo and so very hard not to make assumptions at times. Next tattooed and multi-pierced person I come across I’ll try not to shake my head.


  3. Thanks, Jo. That same thought often comes to mind (“I don’t know their story”), but often after the fact, like your daughter’s realization.
    Good words, as always.


  4. Your words hit home ,Jo. They have real application to our daily lives. Thank you.





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