"Whoever says, 'I abide in him,' ought to walk just as he walked." 1 John 2:6 NRSV
Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his mocassins?" It comes from a poem initially called Judge Softly written by Mary Torrans Lathrap in 1895. Here are just a few lines from that poem.
Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I.
Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions
And see the world through his spirit and eyes
Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.
Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave
In other people's lives, our kindnesses and generosity.
Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.
This poem serves as a reminder that to appreciate a person's situation fully, it is essential to know where they have come from. It is in understanding their life challenges and decisions made, can we begin to understand who they are. To do this requires empathy and appreciation for their struggles.
John writes, "'Whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, "I abide in him," ought to walk just as he walked." In the Bible, we have the story of Jesus' walk. His story begins even before the creation of the world (John 1:1-5). He was there in the covenant with Abraham and on Mount Sinai. In the exile and return of Israel, he was there. He was the prophesied Messiah. His birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and return to his Father are all part of his walk. It is in studying and obeying the walk of Christ found in the word that we can abide in him.
Precious and loving God, we give you thanks for your word. In your sacred text, we can find examples of how we are to walk like Jesus. As we read your word, please help us understand and apply what we learn to live righteously and abide in you. In the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
“‘Judge Softly’ or ‘Walk a Mile in His Moccasins’ - by Mary T. Lathrap.” James Milson - Writing & Things, 6 Feb. 2019, jamesmilson.com/about-the-blog/judge-softly-or-walk-a-mile-in-his-moccasins-by-mary-t-lathrap/.