Sunday, May 11, 2008

Intolerance of Intolerance

As I get older I have begun to realize that those who judge are either inexperienced people expressing an idealistic viewpoint where everything fits neatly in boxes, circumstances go as planned and rules guide them in "the one right way". Other folks who judge, knowing better than to believe in this idyllic vantage, try to keep a lid on things -seeking a sense of control in a chaotic, mysterious world.

What is interesting that those who are judged are often normal, reputable and seemingly sane people who are experiencing upsets that are messy, unexplainable and sometimes unthinkable.

Some would argue that if these people were about right living and in relationship with the Lord, they would have been set straight. That maybe true. We all tend to stray away from things- spirituality, goals, and our true purpose. We meander and find that we lose our way and seek out the path again.

When we are on our true path of purpose and in connection with our source, I think we tend to do better, feel better and reap greater rewards. But, while we are off the path, I think we learn valuable lessons and learn how to have compassion for others. I believe the pains of our past help us to get in touch with our soul, and help us to see the soul of others.

I think for judgers, it is hard to look at the soul - it is a vulnerable place, it is a brutally honest place, it can be a scary place, and it is a place where we face our own fallibility. Standing naked. Kind of like experiencing a death of a close loved one. It is then that you realize that it could have been you that died, or it may even be you tomorrow. You find yourself facing your own mortality. That is a sweet place and ultimately a gift- but it is scary as shit.

So how do we experience the fallibility of others? When do we realize that we are fallible too? (I know that we all acknowledge we are fallible in theory- but when we judge others we are saying, "you got it all wrong, and I know what is best...., I am better off than you".

Even those who have somehow managed to avoid big mishaps like divorce, infidelity, children out of wedlock, speeding tickets and lying straight to some one's face may find that they are standing in judgement against others (to some, an even bigger sin).

I find that people who judge live in fear- living in fear that things will not go as intended, fear that God will reject them, fear that others will see through their carefully built glass house and notice the dirt there. We are all dirty folks!

So, what do we do with the fallen ones? Do we invite them to our table, welcome them in our lives, love them as we are called to do by Jesus? Jesus was quite explicit about love and acceptance. Can we follow him- or do we continue to throw stones?

So, how do we express our tolerance of people but not lower our standards; love folks yet express our opinion about right and wrong?

How can I love someone when I feel judged and unappreciated by them as I swim in my own fallibility? And most importantly, how can I judge the judgers and not face my own hypocrisy?

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