Judging vs. discerning; rejecting the person vs. employing wisdom for daily-living
There seems to be a common theme here in the blog-o-sphere, around which humanity has obstacles of communication for developing a unifying understanding. And yet, perhaps we are growing closer.
A teacher with whom I once worked seemed to have struck a beautiful balance. She often remarked that her mother, also a teacher, had repeatedly instructed her to “remember to always be kind”.
This teacher was amazingly complex, and yet infinitely approachable and available. She accepted every question with equal respect, honored every emotion expressed as legitimate, laughed easily at herself and with others–but never at them. When she saw co-workers slyly back-stabbing, purposefully and hurtfully excluding, speaking disdainfully, she never engaged. It was so subtle that those who were acting inappropriately didn’t notice her disengagement: they could have assumed (and apparently did assume) that she agreed. But this incredible teacher had a tiny wink that she shared with those who could detect the condescending behaviors. It validated their discernment and encouraged the “loving patiently while they learn” mindset. The bottom line was that she engaged with everyone equally when the processes were of positive forward motion. She was, in my way of thinking, discerning the behaviors– not judging (condemning) the person.
We honestly can never know why anyone would choose to become hateful, bigoted, judgmental, or exclusionary. The longer I live, the more I believe that the pain in aggressors’ lives was once so great, that triggers of recognition immediately call up their full arsenals of offense and defense. In the meantime, I think it is important to remember that only the compassion that they never received is strong enough to calm their triggers. (Criminal behaviors could certainly fall into this conversation, but I’ll reserve that for another topic.)
Your comments, views, and discussions are always encouraged and most welcome.