“The reverse side also has a reverse side.” ~ Japanese Proverb
It has been a constant struggle for me throughout my life not to be judgmental. I think part of it is because that is the way my father was and the way he raised us. Everything was black and white. There was never any middle ground. Things were either right (his way of thinking) or wrong (not agreeing with his way of thinking). Judgment was swift and, sometimes, not so pleasant. As I say, part of the reason I have fought against being judgmental is because of my father. The other reason, I must admit, is because that seems to be who I am.
I would not have adopted my dad’s way of thinking if it did not make some kind of sense to me. Having it hard-grained since youth, it is difficult to think another way. Yet, as a priest, most especially as a priest, I have to think other kinds of ways constantly. I have to be able to think other ways non-judgmentally just so that I might be able to understand from what perspective someone is coming who may need to speak with me. I have to understand someone’s decisions as they now lay dying in hospice in order to be of spiritual help and comfort to them.
The Japanese proverb quoted above rattles people like me; however, it is so true. The reverse side does have a reverse side. And the reverse side of the reverse side might be different from the first side that the reverse side reversed upon when it reversed, oh, never mind! You know what I mean.
Things are constantly in flux. As they change, they create other reverse sides. We will never know anyone or anything completely because of this constant changing of our world and of the people in it. Because of that, we need to caution ourselves as we listen to others and mingle with others lest we begin to judge who they are and what they do.
A listening heart can bring compassion. A judgmental heart brings no healing or good at all.
FAITH ACTION: Be open to what others tell you today and do your best not to judge them for where they are or what they have chosen in their lives. Instead, meet them with good example.