Judge Not, Lest………………………….
Nobody but God knows our whole story, not even ourselves. So, only God has the necessary information to judge anyone. One of the reasons we are sensitive to others’ criticism is that we are already judging ourselves.
But we don’t know the hand we, or others, were dealt. We don’t know the combination of genes, the effects of time in the womb, the combination of personality and life experiences, hormonal imbalances, even the effects health issues long forgotten have had on us.
Two very trivial experiences, that I became aware of, illustrate this. Most of my life, though I love yellow flowers, I have always disliked forsythia intensely. Once while talking with others about memories of being disciplined in childhood, I surprised myself by saying, “My grandmother always stripped the long Forsythia branches to use for spanking us.”
It took me years to overcome an antipathy to classical music, only to finally remember at ten years of age having measles and standing shaking and miserable as my mother hemmed my Easter dress and my father insisted I listen appreciatively to Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
In mid-life I spent some time recording my dreams in order to better hear what was going on in my unconscious. My children were grown and gone and I still hadn’t figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
There was an interesting “character” that re-occurred in my dreams, a competent, practical, assured woman (not a reflection of my conscious self at that time, for sure). In this particular dream, I was playing cards and when it was my time to deal, I realized that I wasn’t playing with a full deck. (It’s ok to laugh here!) So, in the dream I went into a storage closet to look for the missing cards. The woman came into the room at that point and said with authority, “Eileen, get back in the game and play the hand you were dealt.”
I have come to realize that many of my parents’, teachers’, and my own expectations for me were probably delusional.
In college I wrote an essay entitled Breathes There a Man with Pride So Dead, Who Never to Himself Has Said, “I Am NOT the Common Man.”
In mid-life, I had to come to terms with the possibility that my struggle to not be mediocre (common) might not be the real issue. It might be that I have to struggle to become mediocre!
We are only called to play the hand we were dealt.
Ultimately, the judging of how well we do that ends up back in God’s court.