It’s amazing to me how many roles we play in life; how they change through the years. We have spouse roles and child roles, parent roles, friend roles, and job roles. We are customers, fans, users and gamers.
It’s also amazing how easily we forget that everyone has multiple roles. It’s easy to consider people only in the limited role they play in our lives. Our mailman has a family and a complex life outside of his job. Our physician’s sole focus in life is not our blood pressure, weight or cholesterol level. Obviously we can’t, and probably shouldn’t, be involved in every aspect of the lives of all the people we know. Boundaries are important and we are limited.
There should be exceptions. Shouldn’t we be aware of and appreciate all the roles our spouse has to play, for example. Even if we can’t fully participate, shouldn’t we be sympathetic to the struggles our spouse is going through as parent or employee or just as citizen of an increasingly confusing world? Shouldn’t we realize that there is more to our pastor than his Sunday sermon? Shouldn’t we consider that a grumpy word and sour face may come from someone under incredible stress?
Often folks are “failing” in the role they are playing in our lives, because some other role is absorbing their time and energy. It’s then that we can be Jesus to them by understanding and reaching out to them as complete people with issues and problems at least as complex as our own.
We have way too much information about some folks and not nearly enough about others. Let’s pray for the Spirit to guide us through lives that intersect with others who are stressed, struggling and seriously in need of some patience and understanding in some role in life that just isn’t working out right now.