This post is a response to Never Say Bad Things About People.
Imagine living next door to someone whose front yard is falling apart. A beautiful, large tree towers over his house, but as its roots grew they began destroying the sidewalk. What used to be a smooth, flat surface is now an uneven jumble of sharp stone. Your neighbour, Mr. Murphy, knows that his yard is in terrible shape, but he loves the shade his tree provides and he only has enough strength to tend the vegetable garden in his backyard. He also believes that other people have the responsibility to avoid tripping when they walk past his house.
Moving into your new house took much longer than you expected, and it was nearly pitch black outside when you finally rummaged the last load of the moving van just as a gentle storm began. The final box was surprisingly heavy, and in your haste to get out of the rain you didn’t remember the slick, jagged edges of the sidewalk until it was too late.
You still have a scar on your leg from that night. Mr. Murphy made you a delicious apple pie after you arrived home from the hospital, but he refused to pay for your medical bills because he doesn’t think anyone should expect sidewalks to stay flat.
The next spring you noticed someone new moving in on the other side of Mr. Murphy’s house just after supper one night. She is visually impaired but can see large objects when she’s in a well-lit area. The sun is setting, and you see storm clouds rolling in as you chat with her.
Gossip is insisting that Mr. Murphy is an immoral human being who wants her to get hurt. If she knows what’s good for her she’ll never speak to him or accept any of the vegetables from his garden because they’re poisonous.
Telling the truth is warning her about the sidewalk. How she uses this information is up to her, but at least she now knows how dangerous it is to walk there if you can’t see where you’re going.