No matter what problem, struggle or memorable encounter I had with people around me growing up, when I talked to my dad about them, he always seemed to reply with the same response… “Everybody’s Different.”
I must’ve heard it at least a thousand times; almost every day of my youth. If I had a fight with a classmate and couldn’t understand why she resorted to throwing punches; if one of my friends had been “despicable” and not invited me to their party; or if I was complaining about someone who I judged to live their life “inferior” to how I thought we did, such as the homeless guy that was always begging for change at the end of our block; my dad’s words of wisdom were always the same: “Remember what I told you? Everybody is different!”
After some time I found it entertaining that I knew what he would say before he said it. Then – especially as a teenager – I found it very, very annoying. I always heard what he said, but didn’t accept what he was trying to tell me. I know now that each of the times my father repeated the line, he was reminding me not to judge others. He was reminding me to be kind, even if others weren’t kind to me. He was teaching me that we all have our different roles in making this world what it is, and it’s not up to me to determine anyone else’s role, and that I better play my own part the best that I can.
Now, as I watch my daughter grow up, I so very often use the same line. If she has an argument with a classmate, or is quick to make a negative assumption about someone we encounter, I give her the same reminder.
With words of wisdom, hearing them is the easy part – the trick is accepting the words into your heart, believing them, living by them, and being ready to deliver those same words to others at the proper time.
EZEKIEL 3:10. Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all the words which I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.”