It’s a sitcom standard – a woman is giving birth, screaming while breathing loudly and rhythmically. Her husband sits comforting her as she tells him how much she hates him right now. And we laugh. And she squeezes his hand so strongly that you can almost feel the bones under duress as he comically lowers to the ground. And we chuckle. Because we get it. And then as soon as we turn off the TV we forget it.
Pain Affects Judgement
With the pregnant woman in labor, we understand her anger and we overlook the pain she brings. In fact we don’t think anything about it. We don’t even register it as meanness or inflicted pain because we know what she is going through is so much worse.
But what about those who walk around with a whirlpool of pain sloshing around inside them, abused, mistreated, judged, condemned, and verbal set ablaze? Do we give them compassion and understanding, looking past the anger toward a person who is deeply anguished?
Or even the person lashing out at people who just received his divorce papers, or the bitter cashier who hasn’t yet had a relationship where she didn’t get dumped? Or, more importantly, what about the people who we don’t know what’s going on in their lives – we simply know how they are treating us?
Bad Choices and Pain Run Together
The fact is that bad choices tend to lead to pain and pain tends to lead to bad choices. They run together like two gang members knocking people between the two of them, chuckling all the time as people bounce between, hunkered over in fear.
When we are in pain, we don’t always make the best choices or do the right things. But I’m guessing you know this. I’m guessing you see this. I’m guessing this strikes a chord with you. Which begs the question: why do you condemn people who make bad choices? Wouldn’t it be better to help them through their pain?
Maybe the best thing to do is to step between their pain and bad choices, just to be there with them and show them there is something else, to alter the path that makes them ping-pong their way between these two vicious compadres.
After all, if pain leads to bad choices, why add to their pain leading them toward more bad choices? Why not realize their pain is real and deep? Why not look past their actions and understand the person inside?
Why not instead make a good choice. Why not choose compassion?