Last week I attended a funeral...of a young man who passed away too early. What incredible heartbreak lingered there in the memorial service! The brokenness hung heavy in the room. His mom got up to speak and told us that her son would always say to her, "Everyone is doing the best that they can. Treat everyone as if they have a broken heart."
What words of wisdom! Do we all not walk around with brokenness? It could be a divorce. A friend dying of cancer. The loss of a job. The loss of a relationship. Rejection. Family dysfunction. We all carry heartache. Even those who seem to have a rough exterior. The brash. The harsh. The mean ones...sometimes they are the most broken. The one who looks like they have it all together? He or she is the one who may be falling apart. You just never know the burden of another, because we excel in disguising our pain.
We need to treat others as if they are carrying a broken heart, but how?
Assume the best. Many times we look at others' actions and judge them without knowing their hearts. We make false assumptions about what their intentions were, but the truth is, we can never know the heart of another. We can't totally understand what makes him or her do what they do. We have no idea what lead him or her to this place and those actions. So the only thing to do is assume the best.
Dole out grace. We all want grace, but have a hard time giving it. We want people to judge us on our intentions instead of what we actually did. We desire the benefit of the doubt all the while doubting the person beside us. Grace says, "You may not deserve this kind treatment, but I am going to give it anyways." Withhold judgment. Speak a kind word. Let it go.
Love them from afar. There are drastic times when you actually have to handle with care YOUR heart. You are the fragile one who needs the strength to walk away. Sometimes the best way to handle another is to have some distance. I know this sounds so counter to giving them grace and assuming the best, but I have found that when a situation or person becomes toxic it is best to get out for their sake and yours. It does you and the other person no good to stay in something in which you will only break each other more. Oftentimes, the way to handle a broken heart is to let it go.
We all carry a broken heart. Let's handle each other with care.