By Angela Cox
Every now and then, I read a proverb that says, "Don't boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth". "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips". (Proverbs 27: 1-2) This proverb speaks in loud volume by saying that no one knows what lies ahead, and that this journey in life can be unpredictable. Only God know what awaits us, and what our future holds in store. It's also a reminder to be humble, because no human being on earth is infallible or born into perfection.
Therefore, it's best that we never say never, because the very thing that we say we won't do, we can find ourselves doing or becoming. I had to learn this the hard way, especially being young and ignorant to the facts of life, it was easier to speak on things that I didn't understand.
When I was young, I was rudely awakened by a series of events that changed my world, and showed me that I was just as capable of falling into traps, temptations, and error just like every one else. A few lessons were presented during my early teens, when a new school mate moved around the corner from where I lived. She was very pretty, but mature for her age, especially in physical appearance and mannerism, insomuch that she caught the attention of the parents in the neighborhood. She'd flaunt to the bus stop dolled up in mini skirts, pumps, big hair, and lipstick just to go to school. While the rest of us teens and pre-teens were more conservatively dressed in ponytails, braids, a bang, a mushroom (you name it) and wouldn't be caught dead showing off our stuff in public even if we wanted to. (unless we'd sneak around to do it). Back then your appearance was a direct reflection of your parental upbringing, and your parents would not have you put them to shame!
Though this young lady stood out among the rest of us, she taught me a valuable lesson about judging others, based off of some preconceived notion, and that no one is perfect. You never know what goes on in someones personal life that causes them to act out of sorts, or the depth of pain in their heart. It also showed me how cruel and merciless the world can be with no concern for your plight, even if you're young and lack understanding, you can still be an object of ridicule no matter how old you are. (Some people will eat you alive with harsh words, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
It wasn't until I got to know her that I realized why she was so mature. I also found that she and I shared common ground although our lives were different, the bottom line ended in the same result. I discovered that she was raised in a dysfunctional, single parent home, and forced to grow up before her time. She also became a teen mother during her ninth grade year, which clearly says she was searching for love in all the wrong places. No one really knew what was in the depths of her heart but God, and no one knew her internal suffering due to the rejection and cruelty of others. But it wasn't until I experienced what she did that i gained a better understanding.
I learned that this proverb mentioned earlier holds true, and I've experienced and witnessed the reality that comes with "boasting about tomorrow". I made this mistake because I used to talk about what I'd never do or be, but I became just like the young lady that I judged. A teen mother, looking for love in all the wrong places, an object of ridicule, a statistic, and stereotyped, left in the merciless hands of the world to judge without even knowing anything about me.
This acts as a reminder to show mercy to someone else, because one day you might need it for yourself. It also teaches you to appreciate those that God sends into your life that have gone through "life's mill" that possess a level of understanding and compassion while exercising God's unconditional love toward you in spite of your flaws. The world can be a very cold place to live in, and we need God and a shoulder to lean on every now and then. (Dedicated to CEO & President Patricia D. McKinney, My Spiritual Mother, Teacher, & Mentor who has expressed God's love in my life and taught me to do the same).