I recently sat down with my wife, Amanda, for a few minutes after the kids were in bed. I had to apologize to her because I became way too frustrated with our two young boys that day. I let them stress me out more than I should have.
I began to learn that day how hard it is to be my wife, and do what she has to do all year while I’m off traveling for baseball. After that, I wanted to better understand her full-time responsibility at home with our kids. I wanted to grasp how she handles it so well. I quickly realized that by staying connected to Jesus amidst the kids’ playing, hurting, laughing, crying and having fun, I can remain calm too. If I don’t stay connected to Him, I can easily let their behavior dictate the pace of my life, as well as my level of anxiety.
I’m trying to encourage my wife to take a couple of days, or even just one night, away from the kids for her own sanity, and also for me, so I can experience what it’s like to have my spouse gone. During the season, I’m away for long periods of time while she’s home alone with the kids. It’s hard. But even though it’s hard, she’s not hesitant to do it. Her love for our kids is so strong. But through some convincing, I want to allow her to relax and fully immerse myself at home with my kids.
It’s hard to understand what someone else is going through unless you put yourself in their shoes. We see this a lot in marriage — we end up in arguments when we think our situation is more difficult than the other person’s. We need to take a step back and look at the situation from our spouse’s point of view. That is the only way we are able to be compassionate toward others.
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says that whatever we do for the “least of these” we do for Him. If we isolate ourselves and never open our eyes to see the poor or marginalized, it makes it very difficult for us to be compassionate, to care for others — to act and move as Jesus did.
Last offseason, I was able to spend a few days in the Dominican Republic getting to know people there and see the impact that a little bit of fundraising was able to have for those in need. I really gained an appreciation for their hearts and where they were coming from. Experiencing this firsthand made me that much more motivated to do more for them and tell others to do the same.
The only way you’re able to really build a solid relationship with someone is to spend time getting to know them and understanding their situation. Early on in my journey with Christ, I was more dismissive of people who were different from me. After spending more time with God and allowing His Spirit to change my heart, I now understand that people usually act differently from me because they have a backstory and a reason for it. If I spend the time getting to know them, it’s a lot easier for me to share the hope of the Gospel with them.
In Jesus’ day, no one went near the lepers, let alone touch them. Jesus did both. He got close to those who were outcast and forgotten. He shared dinners with tax collectors and sinners; He drew near to those who were dirty — those the rest of society shunned.
The closer I get to those whom I aim to serve, the better I can serve them. Finding little ways to gain more understanding of others and their needs, I can then be more of Christ to them — meeting them where they are at. It’s not going to be the same for each person. As the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
— Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop
Nick Ahmed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Nick’s Increase profile here.
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