…and then there was Boston. And the raging argument over abortion legislation in Tasmania. And deaths of loved ones, and people on Facebook with broken hearts and broken spirits because of all of these. Even the air around me grieved yesterday.
We’re a bigoted bunch, it seems, and too often a calloused bunch as well. I can’t say I’m the exception, although I desperately wish I could. I’ve held onto my own self-righteousness like a cloak that keeps me warm in the past, and I’ve allowed ugly stereotypes and cartoonish thinking to uphold my prejudices against people. And…not only that…I thought I was justified. Ouch.
I’m sorry for it now.
The thing I’ve learned though, is that the same judgements we apply to other people we also unwittingly apply to ourselves. Then suddenly there’s a little part of us, an insecurity hidden deep inside, that cowers and says “I’m not good enough”, and our brazen, bigoted outside grows bigger in order to hide it.
When we stop judging others then we are free to love ourselves.
When we stop assuming that we are right and that we know the cardboard hearts of others then we can start seeing them for the flesh-and-blood and hurting creatures they really are.
I can’t judge. I’ve stood before as a self-appointed judge of others, and I’m deeply ashamed of it now. I’ve not loved people as I need to. I’ve let my own self-righteousness get in the way of loving other people, and for that I’m sorry.
I have no great authority today to say “go ye out today and change the world!”, but I can start with me. And, more so, I can start with MY world. Today I will love my children, and endeavour to respond with understanding and not judgement.
Maybe that way I’ll start a habit in me. Maybe that way I’ll start a habit in them.
Let’s choose to love. It’s all we’ve got.
I guess I’ve been on both sides – certainly, I’m often guilty of stereotyping, and I’m quick to judge people in soft clothes, with soft hands, who think themselves heroic. I’ve met heroes. They’re all dead. (See? I got in a bit of quick stereotyping there – to prove my point.)
Burt I’ve been on the other side – I’m the male analog to the Cat Lady who is the butt of so many jokes. I’m the Dog Man. Somewhere along the line I realized that these creatures can show the closest thing to unconditional, and reasoned love outside of Heaven. They are slow to judge, quick to forgive – and society treats them as expendable.
There are those who say, what you’re doing is great, I wish I could. But there are many who seem to delight in the needle, the smart comment delivered with a small grin. The people who think, and say, ‘get a life’.
I have one. I’ve devoted it to making one corner of the world just a bit kinder. It’s not perfect, sometimes it’s not even good, but it’s all I had to offer. And, to anyone who asks, I gave up a lot to be here, and it;’s no one’s business but mine to know what.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this – everyone has something to give, and most peoiple sincerely try, to the best of their ability, to live a good life. Does that get them saved? I don’t know, because I don’t know their hearts – and I don’t care. Just trying, in this world, that’s good enough for me.
And it’s worthy of my respect, when I deign to give it.
I think we need to have faith in the best that is in humanity as well as in God, there is a Quaker expression ‘There is that of God in every man (I always include us girls in that-man tag) only, sometimes I feel it is very hard to find it and quite easy to find that 666 number, but that is mankinds number less than a perfect 7, but lets keep on trying, and loving and one day we may hit the mark instead of falling short.
Thank you both. You’ve helped me remember, when I needed to be reminded, that there are people out there trying to love, to do their best, to make a difference.
For an incurable optimist I can be quite the pessimist occasionally. Thanks for lifting my eyes again.
You raised some good points, Megan – and you dealt with them well.
An interesting illustration came up today, in reference to the capture of one of the suspects in the Boston bombing. Seriously wounded, he was taken to the trauma unit at Mass General – one of the best in the world.
A lot of people are asking, Why? Why does he rate the best care, especially at a place that’s treating his victims? Where’s the justice?
Justice doesn’t come into play here – it will be meted out in due course.
What’s important here is this – that the quality of our mercy, and ultimately the quality of our faith, depends on how we treat those we hate when they are in our hands.
So true Andrew, so true.