When she was about five years old, my cousin’s daughter took a trip to Yellowstone National Park. When she returned from her trip, Zoey couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the amazing things she saw there. She was especially excited about the adorable, teeny-tinybuffalo she saw at the park. Turns out, the buffalo she saw were actually quite large, as most buffalo are. But, because wild buffalo are only safely viewed from a distance, they looked small to her, so she assumed that they were teeny-tiny.
Zoey’s buffalo story reminds me that in order to really understand something, or someone, we have to get up close. I know that on far too many occasions, I have made judgements about people while standing much too far away to really see them for who they are. I wonder just how many times I’ve assumed something about someone in error simply because my perspective was skewed. I also wonder how many times people have made assumptions about me because they never got close enough to understand the fullness of who I am.
I know I’ll still get this wrong. You probably will, too. It’s human nature to judge other people, which may be why the Bible speaks against it so often. But, perhaps we can commit today to make an effort to walk alongside people, getting close enough to truly understand who they are, rather than making assumptions while we stand a safe distance away.
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