Theme: Encourage others in a positive way.
My sister and I grew up with means. And that fact, the fact that Daddy made money, enveloped some other people's perception of us. We were "the princesses."
Not, they have such loving hearts. But, they are spoiled princesses. Not, they care about others and devote their energies to causes that help others. But, they are spoiled princesses. Not, they are kind, stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves, and give generously. But, they are spoiled princesses.
They just saw the external and didn't bother to check out the internal.
(Note: I need to tell you that I currently don't have means. My Daddy had means, but I don't. We live a simple life, we have a modest home, a modest budget to which we religiously stick, we give as we can, and we splurge a little. My goal is to make my life as simple as possible, and I'm working diligently on that.)
Because of my upbringing, I know firsthand how seemingly good people can allow the enemy to prosper in their hearts because they are looking only at the surface...and perhaps reading their own agenda into someone's life.
When people are seen through a lens of what they have, the exterior and material, and not who they are, then prejudice takes root. And those doing the judging can feel self righteous about it because it fulfills a stereotype and highlights how much better they are at living and giving.
An ego not reined in by self and God can misjudge. Even a good, beautiful, giving Christian ego.
And, I 'm guilty of it! Despite the fact I've been on both sides--the judged and the judger. Maybe you understand, too. Have you been on both sides, too? I know I still work on not judging others in a self-righteous snit.
It's easy to judge another person's lifestyle when you see a thumbnail and not the full picture. It's easy to think that people who live in a big house and eat out a lot have ample money and should be giving it to the poor or those in need. In our financial services business (closed 2 yrs now) we saw client after client who bought into the American Dream, buying big and often, yet still barely living paycheck to paycheck.
In American today, granite countertops and hardwood floors don't necessarily indicate wealth, in fact they could spell poverty.
My point is that when people are in the trenches and life is difficult they could think they work more than anyone. They could also think that they help more than anyone, and that they suffer more than anyone. It's very, very easy to place blame on those perceived to be sitting on the sidelines.
When a person gives it all, emotionally and physically, practically out of breath and shirt dirty and dripping with sweat, it's very easy to judge the person in the clean, dry shirt. I know, I've been scratched and bruised and wondering why the manicured hands aren't helping me.
But, it's all about perception.
Maybe people have don't have the time it appears. Maybe people don't have money they seem to have. Maybe something external simply doesn't exist on the internal. Maybe we don't see the hours or dollars donated, and the needy people uplifted and served.
To be effective and help others be effective, we have to be encouragers and supporters. Because when we look at other people, regardless of their circumstances and our prejudices, we truly don't know the whole story. We can never know.
So, we have to assume the best and inspire others.
Honey is a much better attractor to a cause than vinegar.