By Pam Thompson
It was a destination beach wedding.
Our extended family was enjoying ourselves after our sister’s beach wedding, and we observed several more nuptials as the day went on.
This one, the last one of the day, was so very similar to all of the others. . . . But then something was different. Something was off. After the requisite photos had been taken, the bride and groom were not returning to the wedding party. They were stalling, a lot.
We observers on the beach commented on how “very rude” the couple was being. As we witnessed staff person after staff person walking back and forth between the resort and the couple, carrying phones and trying to make things right, we then labelled her a “Bridezilla”. Finally she and her groom joined the party and all seemed to be just fine.
Later that evening we learned through the grapevine that all was not as we thought we observed. The bride had encountered a pretty serious medical problem and everyone was trying to make sure that the rest of the evening could go well.
When I heard this news, I felt terrible.
We were making some (pretty harsh) assumptions without having all of the information on hand.
We were being judgmental, and, quite frankly, unloving.
Reflecting on this event made me realize that we do this every single day.
It is wrong. It is not loving.
That couple, presumably “putting the cart before the horse” and bringing their children into a marriage? She was widowed at age 25 and has met a man brave enough to take on this woman and these children he has fallen in love with.
That single teen mom? She was raped at age 17. She loves her baby dearly and cannot imagine how things would have turned out had she chosen to end her daughter’s life because of the circumstances of her conception.
That mom, who works and puts her kids in daycare? She is making sure that the family has health insurance and that the mortgage gets paid.
That family who pulls their son out of Lutheran school? He has a learning disability that requires specialists that work for the public school.
And do you know what? Not one of us needs to “know” the backstory of any of these people. It is absolutely none of our business. We should not have to hear a justification for why a person acts a certain way in order for us to show Christian love and concern.
Jesus did not say, “love those who are deserving of love and who disclose all of their background and pass muster.”
He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
We need to stop being so haughty and snarky and start being more caring and loving. We can better spend our energies by actually serving our neighbor rather than nit-picking all of their shortcomings.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 ESV