For some reason, a single scripture reference came to mind: Proverbs 18:13 says, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” I realize one may reasonably question how the two – the story and the verse – relate to one another, so let me explain. Within our move, we had the location (the office), the situation (move the furniture), the person familiar or part of the situation (the coworker), and the person invited or entering the situation (me).
Entering the location, even observing the situation and being told of it, I still did not discern the painted canvas which fell on my hand. My coworker apologized for not remembering he had placed the artwork there, and I apologized for not noticing the painting before helping him move the furniture. Thank goodness it was not damaged, but my hand was still hurt, he was still disappointed it happened, and the artwork could have been broken. All because we observed the location and took for granted we knew the situation; instead of taking the time to examine every possible detail before taking action.
This same principle applies in our daily lives, when we interact with family, friends, and those around us. Sometimes we make judgments or give advice, but how often are they possibly made or given without us noticing or discerning all of the key elements of a given situation? Perhaps we think we know all of the information, yet some is merely gossip. What if we have only heard a partial truth, by listening to just one side of the story? How many times have we apologized, only to leave the other person – or perhaps even entire relationships – worse off than they were? All because we answered a matter – by words and/or deeds – without really hearing and/or understanding the entirety of the situation and everything involved?
May we be mindful of our judgments and quick advice to others, as it may prove to encompass a much different – long lasting, opposite – outcome than we might first have imagined.