A Mile In Their Shoes

by Rich Dixon on July 30, 2015

mile shoes“Before you abuse, criticize, and accuse…walk a mile in my shoes.”

That’s the advice of a ’70s pop song. Pretty basic–before we judge, it’s a good idea to find out how the other person sees things.

A few days ago Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley was booed for saying, “All lives matter.”

Why would anyone object to that? Of course all lives matter. What’s the problem?


To many African-Americans, this phrase means much more than a claim that black lives matter equally. If I understand correctly, it’s a demand that others recognize racial injustice and white privilege and the fact the not all lives have historically been understood to matter. When I, as a white person, brush past “black lives matter” too quickly and jump to “all lives matter,” I’m seen, from the other’s perspective, as dismissive.

I haven’t made the effort to see the issue from their shoes and to communicate my understanding.

Of course, none of this excuses shouting or booing or other rude or violent behavior. But with that take on the issue, we only end up with two groups wondering why the other doesn’t understand.

Jesus said it’s up to us to take the first step. He asked us to do something sacrificial, to suspend judgement and step into another person’s story.

Prodigal Son. Woman at the Well. Good Samaritan. Woman Caught In Adultery. In each case the religious establishment expected an outcome based on tradition, judgment, and rigid rules. Jesus invited listeners into the story and showed us an eternal perspective.

It’s not enough to point and say “they did it too!” Of course they did, and with that childish approach nothing ever gets solved. We simply stand on opposite sides and shout at each other.

An Eye For An Eye Leaves The Whole World Blind

The church is here to go first, to love when it’s hard and listen when others won’t. It’s up to us to seek first to understand, even when others won’t, and to communicate our understanding.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (Psalm 23:5)

Share a meal. Break bread. Step out of your own shoes. Enter their story.

We advance the conversation only when we’re willing to set our ego aside, suspend judgment, and take a few steps in the the other person’s shoes.

Here’s a cool little video that illustrates what this notion of empathy is all about:

Can’t see the video? Click here.


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by Rich Dixon on July 27, 2015


A cool new product inspired today’s word-of-the-week…


slowEver heard of a “slow watch“?

It’s a real thing. Basically it’s a 24-hour watch with a single hand. The idea is that we don’t need to know the time down to the minute and second. So if we wear a watch that doesn’t measure life in small increments, perhaps we’ll slow down and make time for important things.

It’s kind of a a cool idea, and I suspect that a slow watch would be a great conversation starter. However, since I don’t wear a watch I don’t think I’ll spend a few hundred dollars for a high-tech sun dial.

The slow watch raises a question. What do we lose by chopping our lives up into tiny segments and accounting for every moment?

How often are we too busy for a conversation?

How often do we fill the time with urgent and miss important?

Do we hurry to somewhere that doesn’t really matter and neglect somewhere that does?

Do we pretend that quality time is a substitute for time?

Is God an appointment on our morning calendar rather than a partner throughout our day?

A slow watch won’t trick you or me into re-prioritizing our time. At best it’s a silly reminder that life wasn’t meant to be divided into smaller and smaller chunks in the name of a false sense of efficiency.

Jesus didn’t use a watch or a calendar. He was fully present with the people and tasks before Him. We probably need to learn from His example.

It’s Monday. Let’s find some time this week that would be best measured by a “slow watch.”

Have A Great Week.

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