This was how Clarke, an actor, described his co-star after noticing how he was treated on set. In between filming, Clarke observed that his co-star had people “fawning” over him. His girlfriend caressed his hands while a health practitioner tended to his body. Perhaps his co-star’s increasing stardom had gone to his head.
When Clarke said that his co-star was ‘precious’, it wasn’t exactly a compliment.
This description ignored that filming days were long and arduous. Tucked away in an overseas tropical location, with weather that blazed to an irritating 104 degrees, this was not a vacation in the shade. Instead, the cast worked hard, carrying loads that weighed approximately 40 pounds as parts of their characters’ requirements, and more.
To the observer, this treatment was excessive. After all, it wasn’t only hard for the one receiving the treatment; it was difficult for everyone. Yet, no one else had personal masseuses or hand-holding.
In an interview months later, Clarke expressed deep regret at his words as he shared memories of this time. His co-star, the late Chadwick Boseman, wasn’t fawned over needlessly but cared for. Those interviewing Clarke tried to console him with the excuse that nobody knew the private struggles Chadwick endured.
We’re not always privy to someone’s personal life.
Oftentimes, as observers, we forget that we only see what others choose to reveal. There is so much happening around us that we are not privy too. Those closest to us wrestle with gigantic struggles that they choose to keep private for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes it’s because of fear of our reactions should their struggles become known. There’s also the fear of rejection or that they’d be pitied rather than treated fairly. And sometimes, it’s because God has simply told them to keep it quiet.
Regardless of what we do or do not know, we can choose to be kind. To everyone.
Full knowledge of a situation or a person’s history is not a pre-requisite for kindness. Jesus demonstrated this beautifully. Though He knew everything about everyone, He always treated them respectfully and kindly. He wasn’t afraid to show love to people, even if they wouldn’t reciprocate that love.
When someone’s behavior seems odd, let’s not be quick to assume negativity. When in doubt, show kindness. Pray for their best instead of praying about them. Let’s focus on the good that we see and let God take care of who they are.
by Sabrina Jacques-Rowe
Communications Director, Henderson Highway Church