Five Things to Remember Before You Judge Me

public-outrage

Photo credit: The RadioNews Blog.

In both the secular and religious media, it seems that a new group is targeted for public outrage nearly every week. Policemen. Rioters and looters. Gays and lesbians. Muslims. Conservative Christians. Pastors. Liberals. Conservatives. Anti-vaxxers. Immigrants. Abortionists. Politicians.

The list is pretty endless, but the result is always the same: people pouring out indignation, derision and judgement upon a group of individuals they rarely know or understand.

In several cases, I have stood just on the outside of more than one of these groups and, because a loved one resided inside, had a window into their experience. And recently, I found myself wholly part of such a targeted group myself.

If you will, allow me briefly to give voice to those whose voices are too often unheard. Here are five things I believe they would say to us.

1) I am human.

Whatever you think of me and what I do, and however much I pretend not to care, I have feelings, just as you do. It always hurts to hear harsh words spoken about me or about people like me.

2) I have a story.

There are reasons why I am who I am and do what I do. If you haven’t gotten to know me, you don’t know my story. If you sat down with me and heard my story, everything could begin to change. You might not change your mind about me completely, and that’s ok. On the other hand, you might. Regardless, we would begin to see each other as the human beings we both are.

3) I am generally misrepresented and misunderstood.

Most of what I read and hear said about me doesn’t properly represent me at all. I deserve the opportunity to tell my story before my motives, my integrity, my very nature are discussed, criticised, ridiculed. When you don’t give me that opportunity, it’s not really me you are deriding, but a caricature of me. Not a real person or group of individuals at all.

4) Even when you think they are justified, your harsh words carry a destructive energy that will end up hurting you the most.

In the end, it doesn’t feel good to anyone to gorge on the blood of another. And it’s only a matter of time until the person lying in the street, symbolically speaking, is you. When that happens, it’s most likely to be those of us who know what it’s like to be in similar shoes who will stoop to raise you up again, and stand between you and those bearing stones.

5) I care about living my life in a way that is right.

 We might disagree as to what is, exactly, right and wrong, but I am trying to live right, just as you are. Doing the right thing does matter to me, though I’ll never get it right all the time. (Nor will you or anyone else.) Because our stories are different, right and wrong is not always drawn in black and white. But if we know each other’s stories, we will become transformed in each other’s eyes as we begin to view each other through eyes of love instead of fear.

Brothers and sisters, I submit to you that what we need most in this world is love. It is what we are made of and made for. Because we are caught up eternally in the exquisite dance and open arms of the Trinity, the love that surrounds us and permeates us is limitless: we have only to tap into it.

It’s not wrong to be concerned with what you believe is right. Some things absolutely need to change if our children have a hope of a bright future in this life. But if we put love first — if we learn each other’s stories and truly connect as human beings — hearts will open and bloom. More genuine rightness in our world is bound eventually to follow as people travel the pathway of love and inclusion instead of the pathway of fear and exclusion.

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

1 comment so far

  1. Bill Winn on

    very well said. Our actions and affiliates do not define us our Union in Jesus with the Blessed Trinity defines us.


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