There isn’t anyone on this earth that can fully and totally understand another person.
There isn’t anyone who can completely understand your happiness.
There isn’t anyone who can completely understand you pain.
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. Proverbs 14:10
We like to think we can understand another persons joys, another persons pains. But we just can’t. Every life is so unique, every temptation filtered through a life unlike any other on earth. Every personality and reaction, every pain, every understanding, is as unique as our own fingerprints.
Oh its not that we can’t understand each other to a point. But no one on earth can truly, completely, understand another person.
It’s why the journey of “knowing” in marriage and friendship is endless.
Yet at times we so wish to be fully known, fully understood. Our pains and sufferings cry out for someone who fully and completely knows us. Knows our hearts, our thoughts, and the intimate places that drives us.
We can share with people. We can empathize to the best extent we can. But no one, not one, can fully understand another.
Because, there IS one.
One who understands every thought, every motive, every pain.
One who understands out hearts even better than we do ourselves.
One who truly and completely understands our grief, our weariness, our tears.
One who completely understands our triumphs, our victories, even the little ones.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4
Is it an intimidating thought? To be so completely and totally known?
It’s an intimate thing, and a frightening thing, to be fully known. Because this Person doesn’t only know our strengths, but our weaknesses. He not only sees our victories, but also our defeats. Not just our best, but our worst, down to that moment when we were at our most low.
And yet there is hope here. Because, I don’t know about you, but I get so very tired of having no one who fully understands where I am at. Even those who love us well will not always understand us, and can hurt us with their misunderstanding. But here is one who never will misunderstand our hearts.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
How often, I wonder, do we completely misinterpret the hearts of those around us? How often do we hurt those around us by our inability to really see where they are coming from. We judge the people we see on the street so easily, having no knowledge of their past or present, but only a rudimentary idea of their surface selves. We look and judge their anger, or pain. We look and judge their actions or inaction.
We have no right.
There is a reason why a jury is meant to be made up of ones peers. As best as possible one should understand the circumstances of a persons life before passing judgment. But honestly, do we ever fully, and completely, understand what any persons life has been like?
I have a Chronic Illness, and I’ve experienced judgment based on the limits to my capabilities. I’ll find some understanding in others with one or another limitation, but even with these we are incapable of fully understanding each others trials. We have different lives, wants, desires, frustrations, and circumstances. We can try to extend understanding and support to the best of our abilities, but even then it is, at best, only an attempt.
It’s not that I’m saying that we are always wrong in our observations of people, but that we have no right to condemn, to not extend grace.
There was a woman in scripture caught in adultery. She is dragged before Jesus and the teachers of the law and Pharisees demanded to know what Jesus would say they should do. The law demanded stoning, and they were ready to execute the penalty then and there. We don’t know much more to this woman’s story, but we do know how Jesus responded:
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
He was the only one who had the right to judge her. The only one without sin. He was also the only one who completely knew her. He knew her every day, every experience. He knew the journey that she had tread that had brought her to that place.
And He extended grace to her.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:9-11
Are we so full of grace in our dealings with the world? Do we recognize our own lack of understanding of the hearts of those around us? It can be difficult to let go of the idea that we understand so much more than we actually do, but it is only in that place of humble acceptance of our limitations that we can begin to reach out to each other.
I’m so glad I can rejoice in the fact that I am fully known. I am so glad I can rejoice that I am also fully loved.
~Joy Aletheia Stevens