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Friday, May 18, 2012

Walking a Mile...

I've always liked the expression "Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in his shoes." It is such good advice.

I have to admit, I can be terrible about judging. 99% of the time I keep my judgements to myself, but the truth is I STILL judge none the less. I try and stop and pray forgiveness right away and ask for help to stop these feelings. I think it's just human nature to judge. It doesn't make it right, but it's a fault many of us have.

I couldn't imagine judging a person and sharing that judgment with them, either to their face, or worse yet on a public forum. It's so easy to assume what you'd do in a similar situation as the person you're judging and maybe you would do something different than they are, but perhaps the rest of the circumstances in your life are different than that person that would allow you the freedom to do something different.

I remember being very harshly judged by several people about some of the hard decisions we were forced to make in regards to my eldest child. Everyone had not only unhelpful advice to offer, but felt at liberty to tell me what THEY would do and what I am doing wrong. This is NOT helpful, especially when dealing with a crisis situation.

While I would never wish something bad to happen to a friend or neighbor, I have found over  the years as some of my worse critics had children come of age and experience their own difficulties these people all of a sudden finally UNDERSTOOD what we went through and in some cases even apologized for their earlier criticisms of my family and our choices.

It's funny that those with young, cute babies and little ones try and dish out advice to those in the trenches with teenagers. They're all full of advice on what the parents of the teenagers are doing wrong, and what perfect parents themselves are. Easy to do when your oldest child's biggest issue is teething or potty training.

The same goes with financial issues. It's easy to pass judgement on how someone should handle their finances or what they should or shouldn't be able to afford when your own financial lifestyle is so different and you've never lived below a certain income level. I know if I had an emergency crisis today, I would be hard pressed to come up with $1000.00 but alone any more than that to deal with it. Sure, I could come up with $1000.00 but it would mean taking payday advances, credit advances and such. I have no family to lend that kind of money. For someone else, 1000.00 may be an unimaginable amount to come up with. For others obtaining $5000.00 may be what getting the 1000.00 for me would be. It's doable, but will take some juggling. I know people who can't come up with $20.00 to put gas in their car this week.

I remember once someone shared with us that they were broke. I had a hard time believing that, as they were still ordering take out pizza. For them, "broke" meant they had to order Little Caesars rather than Pizza Hut. For us, "broke" was were we going to eat that night at all? Today, I am thankful that we are in a place that I could order pizza any time I choose, luckily I don't care for take out anymore.

My point though, is even finances are relative to your own situation. If a certain amount of money would offer you at least temporary help for your situation, especially in regards for help for our hurting children, I don't think there is a loving parent alive who wouldn't "move heaven and earth" to come up with the funds. But realistically, in today's world, for many families a relatively small amount to you might as well be millions to the person needing it. While a certain amount to you would be like the comparison of Little Caesars Pizza vs. Pizza Hut to the other person that amount  may be inconceivable.

I see the same sort of judgments in the homeschool community or maybe it's just parenting in general. One style of homeschooling is superior to another. One method is just evil and the devil is in the work. And of course, public school is the spawn of Satan himself. Any loving parent would never choose the method you've chosen not to, because yours is the only right one.

The foods we eat, the foods we feed our kids, vegetarian vs. paleo vs.???? Someones weight problem, anothers religion. There are so many things we can judge others for or be critical about.

I'm sure we'd all like to think we have the answers for every issue someone else is suffering from, and our wise words of judgement is like waving a magic wand that will make everything better. The truth is our words can and do hurt. The fact is when someone is really hurting and in a crisis, while the right words might help, what a person needs is tangible help. That help could be offering child care, offering to help raise money, offering prayers, starting a prayer chain, or perhaps just an open ear and closed mouth. Maybe just a shoulder to lean on.

More often than not, when a person seems to be asking for advice, what they really want and perhaps more badly need is love and support, a safe place to vent and some understanding.

Understand also, that while you may in your heart feel you are not judging, but sincerely trying to help, when a person is in a crisis situation they may not hear your love and concern, they only hear the negative criticisms no matter how delicately you try and phrase them. That's why sometime and open ear and closed mouth policy is best.

1 comment:

Beloved's Bride said...

Very Well Written! I enjoyed reading it! Such truth!