The other day Ricky came running in the house slamming his hand into his thigh angrily saying, “Rhea hit me in the leg. Rhea hit me in the leg!” He was reenacting the terribly violent action of his sister. It just occurred to me while writing this that if Ricky could hit his leg in the same spot Rhea hit him, his leg must not have been hurting very badly. Anyway, I said, “Wow! This sounds serious. Let me get Rhea to come in so I can ask her what happened.” Ricky quickly replied with, “Buuuuuuuut….I was kind of choking her. All I wanted was a piggy-back ride and she wouldn’t give me one.” Don’t you feel like choking people when they won’t give you a piggy-back ride?
It’s hard to trust kids…but I think it can be just as hard with adults at times. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard someone’s side of a story and thought to myself, “I can’t imagine it being any different than what this person just said” only to hear the other person’s side and find myself thinking, “Uhhh. Wow. Now I see where this person’s coming from too.” It’s Proverbs 18:17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.
One time when Katie and I were driving home we saw a young lady sitting on the curb only a few houses down from us. She looked really upset so Katie went to talk to her. She said she needed us to give her money so she could make it back to the other side of the country. Her sister kicked her out and if we didn’t help her she’d be homeless. By the time she finished explaining everything, I found myself thinking I couldn’t believe anyone could be that cruel. That’s about the time her niece yelled out the front door, “Mom says to quit being a baby and get back in the house.” Turns out she wasn’t kicked out at all; when she didn’t get what she wanted she tried to run away.
Probably the craziest thing is even when people have completely conflicting sides it doesn’t mean anyone is lying. Both people can be telling the truth…from their own perspectives. Jim says, “There are three sides to every story: one person’s side, the other person’s side, and the truth.” The most important thing is investing the time necessary to thoroughly listen, while making sure not to come co any conclusions until both sides are heard.