Let’s face it–we are generally classified as the awkward archetype, and it doesn’t help that most of us are. But as Christians, we are called to live while considering others and their needs.
Solomon shares with us an incredible amount of wisdom in Proverbs, and in two specific excerpts, seemingly unrelated, we get some insight into the original “putting yourself in others’ shoes” phrase. Both are found in Proverbs 25, and they are 25:20-22:
20Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on a wound,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.”
Basically, the proverbs give us two situations:
The first situation describes two people, one who is of a “heavy heart” and the other, the “one who sings songs”, in a situation where singing may not be the best. From this, we can gather the true importance of good social timing. In reality, there is a time for everything, as King Solomon tells us (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and when someone has a heavy heart and is having a truly unfortunate time, sometimes its better to back off and leave it up to God. This isn’t to say, however, that God doesn’t use us in the lives of our family and friends, and we should always be looking out for one another.
The second situation describes “you” and “your enemy”. Your enemy is hungry or thirsty, and we are supposed to help him; to attend to the needs of even the person who hates us. While it may not be giving them food or drink, there are infinite parallel situations to this. God tells us that what we do for the least of all people, we do for God himself (Matthew 25:40). This proverb is very much the same, and Basically, this sets the precedent in many situations–your enemy is in trouble and you have the upper hand, we are told to assist him. And all this despite the difficulty; fighting the urge to trample them in the dust and gloat over the moment (because I know I would want to). As Christians we are called to a greater lifestyle, and as geeks, we live a lifestyle where, often, no one expects us to step out.
We are called to living righteous lives, giving up our sin in redemption. Part of that means remembering others. When you have a friend who’s mourning, it is not always right to attempt to cheer them up. Think about how you would feel–for there is place for mourning. And, as the same, think of your enemy. We do not humiliate our enemies, and any Sunday school regular knows we are called to love them. In order to seek God, and to grow in Him, we are called to live morally right lives, and remembering others is absolutely essential.