No one walks around as a completely blank canvas. Rather, the collage of our thoughts, actions, beliefs, feelings, perceptions, insecurities, and opinions are shaped by many different things. Upbringing. Economic class. Trauma. Past hurts. To name a few. And all these things, and many more, mesh and form a person. It is why relationships are so tough. We're not coming into the relationship playing from the same deck or following the same rules.
There has been more than once when I have been angry with an individual's behavior or job performance, only to discover later that they had something deeply personal going on behind the scenes that was influencing what I was observing. Only after taking the time to hear their story did I start to understand why they were acting the way they were. Once I understood I was able to better lead. I was also better able to show the love and mercy of Jesus.
The next time you're upset with someone stop and ask yourself if you have the complete picture. Give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment and ponder if there is some critical detail that you may be missing. There is always a back story, and knowing that story can go a long way to diffusing trouble and encouraging positive movement forward.