Challenging Thought for Today: Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses, more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows. Paul Valery
“I can’t believe she couldn’t park that bus. Stevie Wonder could have got that bus in there! With Ray Charles directing him!”
As soon as she said it, the heaviness that had become a part of my persona that day lifted. I actually laughed out loud. I was one aisle over from the two ladies sharing this hilarious conversation in the grocery store. I didn’t know either of the women, but their hearty exchange took my mind of my own troubles for a few moments as I tried to imagine the story behind their comments. I’d like to think that anything weighing heavy on your mind today felt a little lighter as you read it.
Maybe you wondered some of the same things I did. Was someone having trouble passing a school bus road test? Did the lady talking recommend a friend for the job and end up disappointed because the friend didn’t live up to expectations? Was the person taking the test so nervous that she was having a hard time trying to do something on the test that she had easily done so many times before on her own?
So many questions, so many possible scenarios.
I don’t know if those ladies were making a fair assessment of the incident in question or not. But I know I have sometimes made unfair assumptions and judgement without bothering to get the whole story. It’s sometimes a lot easier to compare another person’s response to a situation or incident to what we believe would have been our response given the same circumstances. Without even realizing it, we assess other people’s weaknesses or perceived weaknesses based on what we think are our strengths. We say “I can sing that song better. I can write better, teach better, parent better.” The list is endless. What if we turn that around and intentionally find a way to conceal the weakness and promote the strength?
And, I don’t say this judgmentally. Especially since my first thoughts in overhearing the conversation in the grocery store focused on what the woman whom they were referring to must have done wrong. However, reflecting on it further, I came up with a different perspective. There could be other possible outcomes. Maybe she didn’t do a good job of getting the bus in that particular spot, but it still possible that she was able to pass the test and get her commercial license. Maybe the incident they referred to was her first try and she executed the next attempt flawlessly. I don’t know. I just hope the story had a good ending.
Now, you may be thinking that there are times when we must offer constructive criticism. I accept and understand that. And, Jesus does admonish us to speak the truth in love and sometimes as hard as it is, we must offer some hard truths in order to help those we love. Nevertheless, I still wonder if sometimes we are too quick to judge, and we count people out when all is not lost. One of my colleagues recently took a driver’s test and although she passed and is now a licensed driver, the instructor still encouraged her to work on making smoother stops. The fact that she needed more practice on a specific maneuver did not mean she was not able to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle. Likewise, even if we don’t always get it right the first time or the fifth time, we can still put forth our best effort, acknowledge our mistakes and try again. We can still live an abundant life (John 10:10).
Are there things you are dealing with right now that you could look at from another perspective? Instead of automatically focusing on the one thing that continuously challenges you, why not try rejoicing over the many things that motivate you. Embrace some of those things that you do exceptionally well and work on improving where improving is needed.
Look at today’s challenging thought and instead of judging the quality of your life by what you don’t have or what you can’t do, trust God and reflect on what you have the potential to become.