I’ve been thinking about judgment quite a bit lately. I’ve always loved getting to know different people and learning about different cultures, and I think I do a good job of appreciating those kinds of differences. And yet, somehow, in our own communities and shared cultures, we’re so quick to judge because maybe we think that people “like us” should look more or act more like us. And when they don’t . . . we compare. We either put them down or envy them. Frankly, it’s stupid. Unfortunately, I’m not immune to stupidity. A couple cases in point:
When we were house shopping I was annoyed with strangers who don’t take care of their yards. All the houses around them seemed to look well manicured, but there always seemed to be one or two dump-yards. I thought, Seriously, how hard can it be to put in your grass and maintain a yard? Well, we made a huge landscaping “mistake” at our house recently that resulted in having to tear up our lawn, our sprinkler system, and other things that should not have been damaged, but were. The result has been a completely unsightly, in-progress yard and a bill that is way over our heads. It’s impossible to make it look like I want by the time I want it done because of our existing time and money restraints. So, ladies and gentleman, I am those people. I have become what I judged.
Yesterday, I went to Arctic Circle (I’ve never been before, but my kids had a coupon for a sundae) and while I sat and ate lunch with them, I watched an interesting crowd come and go. At one point, a … shall we say large in girth?… family came in and ordered an abundant meal. My mind wondered why people do that to themselves. And then I realized, Hello Stephanie, YOU are at Arctic Circle eating lunch in a pair of pants that used to fit you a lot looser than they do now. And it has been a struggle for you. I talked to my girlfriends about it last night and we joked how maybe it wasn’t a different lady up there at all, but a mirror and I was ridiculously criticizing my own reflection. Because I kind of was.
So in light of all this recent self-discovery, I’ve been thinking a lot about these quotes here (below) and trying to figure out how I can move them from the “great ideas” category to a whole-new state of mind, a new way of seeing people. If I can really understand it, I can take “stop judging” off my to-do list and put “love as He loves” on my to-be list. …..
“..The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” –1 Samuel 16:7
“Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly? In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.” –Hymn #221
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” –Mother Teresa
“[Charity] It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.” –Thomas S. Monson
Then I watched this video today, and I thought, I can do better. I can.
I wish there were an easy way to just actually get to know people and get past what they seem to be, like some soul x-ray or something. Moroni taught that the gift of charity is something we should pray for, so I guess that’s a good place to start. In the meantime, I’m eating large doses of humble pie, and just hoping it doesn’t make my pants any tighter than they already are.
[p.s. I need a volunteer for Find-a-Friend Friday this week. With everyone on vacation and summering and such, my gracious volunteers are sometimes late to get invitations or unable to participate right away. I’ll start giving out more advance notice throughout the rest of the summer, but meanwhile, does anybody feel like answering lots of questions about yourself in the next two days? I’ll go ahead and take the first volunteer in the comments (check your email!), and if anyone else is interested, I’ll add you to the list for later.]