No One Ever Fully Understands Another  

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The Bible instructs us to do good things for others. To be truthful I find myself mostly doing good actions for people I don’t like but feel obligated to and for people I don’t feel obligated to but like.

My happiest doing for others is for those I like and also feel an obligation to do for. This is like my parents whom I love, like and also feel obligated to do for. Sometimes even family seems strange to me, but I laugh about that as no one ever fully understands another. What holds loved ones together is love not understanding.

Sometimes I feel about my family as a victim of a shipwreck must feel when he looks around at those shipwrecked with him on the island and thinks: How did I get shipwrecked here with all these strange people? And, then thinks, Lord, WHY?

It is at such times I try to remember it is not understanding but love that must hold people together. And we must try as best we can to care for each other in families, institutions and communities, wherever we are.

At such times I try to remember that it is only God who will ever understand us fully, and while God understands us, we shall not understand God in this lifetime because our minds are too small, finite and fleshy not being infinite and spiritual.

Francis of Assisi said we should place our emphasis on understanding others to help them along rather than whining about how we are not understood. Whining is not mature. But we can meditate on the weaknesses in our characters in order to try to overcome them as best we can. Of course we shall not overcome them completely while in the flesh, but improvement is always possible through grace, Christ and will power. Without unrealistic expectations, we should push steadily towards little victories in the love of God. As mosaics are formed jewel by jewel, stone by stone, our spiritual images are formed little victory by little victory.

The best doing of the Word of God is by those who have a relationship with God. A rule without a relationship means little. That is why the Apostle said, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14)

I ask everyone to develop a relationship with God through Christ, I ask it not for my good but their own good, that they may know and be loved by the God shining in Jesus Christ.

Christ offers people in the midst of troubled lives and often confused times a great measure of joy and that peace which (according to Philippians 4:7) “passeth all understanding.” They will experience this as they forget “those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things before.” (Philippians 3:13)


Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.