Check Out Those Shoes!
She teeter-tottered into the room in the pink, high-heeled shoes, grinning as she plunged forward. “I’m a princess,” she said as she scraped herself off the floor. My three-year-old great niece proudly ambled forward again, blonde curls askew, holding her head high before she took the next tumble.
“Where’d you get those beautiful shoes?” I asked.
“They’re my mommy’s. I’m walking in her shoes,” she stated in her princess voice.
“Yes, you are, aren’t you?” I said. “At least you’re trying to,” I added under my breath. Smiling, I began to think about people and their shoes.
Do you remember the old saying that you can’t ever really understand a person until you’ve “walked a mile in his shoes”? I haven’t really thought about it in a while, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Often, we are quick to make judgments about people, based on nothing more than a cursory glance at their appearance, a momentary exchange at the grocery store, or a “look” aimed toward us on the Interstate. At other times, our judgments are reserved for those we interact with more frequently; yet, have we ever really “walked a mile in their shoes”? The man on the street who holds out his hand for money—what’s his story? What about the mother who appears to have it all together, yet struggles to make ends meet? The immigrant family who lives across the street, or the elderly man who is always wandering the neighborhood—what would a walk in their shoes be like?
The truth is that people are people—fallen, broken, and hurting people but people, nonetheless. Some of our shoes have taken us to foreign lands of great beauty simply as observers. Others have walked streets that seem to have been forgotten by the modern-day world. Some shoes are new; some are old. Some are torn, worn, and used-up, barely hanging on for another step. What would the world we live in look like if we reserved our judgments and tried to know and understand people? Of course, we can’t walk in their shoes, and I am afraid, in many cases, we wouldn’t want to. But we can, if we really want to, make it a priority to see beyond the outside and consider the soul. What if we started in our community, in our individual neighborhoods and decided that we would see people as God sees people—a beautiful creation that He loved enough to die for? As you prepare for the day ahead and put on your shoes, imagine putting on the shoes AND the story of each person you meet throughout the day and see for yourself the difference that it makes!