When the Window to the Soul is Smudged

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Generally Speaking....

We expect everyone to understand morality. We may not admit it to ourselves, but we truly do expect each person to respect our beliefs and rights regardless of who they are; again, I say generally.

Our surprise and shock come when those general beliefs are violated by a person or our general idea is rebuffed by some group. We all view things through the window of our belief system which is generally the same in the United States. As diverse a people as we are, Americans have many common moral ideas though the media would have us believe differently.

What happens when that morality is misapplied or as the title says, the window is smudged?

The greatest gift we can give to our neighbors is charity. We judge them through the window that has been cleanse by the frailty of our own weakness.

Caution

Now, based on the introduction, this article could take many turns. It could be an extension of my religious beliefs, my political beliefs, my social situation, my economic status, etc.... Since I tend to write about religion and politics mostly, I figure that I will turn it into those directions mostly; so prepare yourselves.

Beam
Beam | Source

The Beam

Jesus in the Bible explains to us the window concept perfectly as He cautions against looking at someone else in judgement of their situation.

How many times have you, and I mean you the reader, judged someone for appearance when you have also been in that situation?

EXAMPLE: A man goes into the supermarket filthy with a slight stench about him that causes others to avoid him within a 6' radius if possible. He apparently does not consider his appearance enough to dare think of those to whom he will expose it.

One of the patrons of the supermarket mentions to another, "Some people just don't care how they carry themselves."

The others patrons agree with head nods and accenting sounds. What they fail to contextualize in their smudged understanding is that the man had to go into the supermarket after a long day of work with hogs to obtain formula and diapers for his child on the way home from work.

He had no time to change and had to decide between continuing to let his child go without or going home to change first so that no one would notice him because of his appearance.

Those other patrons did not consider the fact that the mother of this child could not breastfeed because of medical issues and that money was short for diapers. They did not consider the that the mother had been using cloth diapers for days with a sick baby and that they had no washing machine.

These patrons did not know that the man had earned his check that day and had finally gained the means to relieve both his child and wife's situation. No; they could only gather empathy beyond their own minute displeasure at seeing and smelling the result of honest labor on a man.

Had theses people known the entire situation, maybe there would have been less judgement. Especially so since the patron who spoke first was an adulterer. Another was a white collar thief. Another was a pastor and should have known better.

How distasteful to judge others in such a manner not knowing the entire situation, but all of us do it from time to time. Jesus taught

...why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:3

Quoted from Look at Yourself Before Judging Others also related to this one you're reading, Muhammad taught

Should you become eager to mention another’s faults, recall your own. “ (Ar-Rafi)

And from an English translation of the Quran

Surah Al-Maeda
(They are fond of) listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden. If they do come to thee, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If thou decline, they cannot hurt thee in the least. If thou judge, judge, in equity between them; for Allah loveth those who judge in equity.

Moses also taught in the Torah in The Book of Vayikra (the book of Leviticus 19:15) that

Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

What the three great teachers have in common is fairness. In each of these men's teachings can be found humility as a defining trait. God loves those who consider not only their faults when dealing with the faults of others, but those who handle judgement in balance.

I suppose it was religious after all.

Thomas S. Monson

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Perspective

I quote a story told by President Thomas S. Monson during a speech he gave:

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

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John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Charity Never Faileth

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Clôture

Judging others is something that we Must do. When we are told not to judge others by spiritual leaders, it is to NOT make unnecessary judgments. Usually when we make those types of judgements it is through the dirty window of our misunderstanding.

The greatest gift we can give to our neighbors is charity. We judge them through the window that has been cleansed by the frailty of our own weakness. In my understanding, Jesus Christ is the only one who can cleanse our window so that we can see correctly. Your window cleaner may differ; but hopefully, the outcome is the same, fairness.

© 2015 Rodric Johnson

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Please, make this a conversation. Comment here. 2 comments

lambservant profile image

lambservant 20 months ago from Pacific Northwest

This was beautiful. It is human nature (our sin nature) to be judgmental. It is an ugly thing. However I think in the Bible there are two forms of judging. One is to condemn with an ugly heart, and the other is to make an evaluation with love and concern for the other. The former is the one we need to stay away from. But certainly, in both we need to prayerfully check ourselves and see if there be anything in us that we need to get rid of (the beam). As to the latter (the evaluation) if we see a brother or sister (not non believers) caught up in a destructive sin, we are told to lovingly and gently seek to restore them. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." However, the next part of this verse says "But watch yourself, lest you also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1). Matthew 18:15-17 gives the Christian the way to help a sinning brother or sister."

Matthew7:1-6, 12, as you mentioned, is a "judge not" passage meaning, in context, don't condemn someone for a sin when you yourself are caught up in sin as much and more than the other person. These kind of people don't care about the welfare of the one with the speck, nor do they love them. Judgment must be a righteous one, and done out of love and concern for that person, not because you take pleasure in making someone look bad to make yourself look good. That is one reason why Jesus called the religious leaders hypocrites.

If you look at vs. 5 of Matt. 7, it tells us to get rid of our beam so that we can see clearly to take the speck out of the brother's eye. So God does not forbid us to make an evaluation of a sinning brother and help restore them, only that we do so with a right heart and a clean one.

Vs 15-20 we see Jesus telling us to beware of false prophets who are wolves in sheep's clothing and how their works are like bad fruit. We are to recognize their fruit (evaluate).

I have to admit, I have been a beam person a time or two (okay, more, as have we all), however when a pastor preached on this once I came to understand the meaning and try to apply it to my life. I do an attitude check when I feel that condemning thing creeping in. I am changing day by day to become what God wants me to be, but it's a process I think we can all agree we struggle through. We all can be hypocrites and condemning people, but we must grow in love and, as you say, fairness. We must offer the love, grace, and forgiveness God has given us.


ikepius profile image

ikepius 20 months ago from Twittosphere: @ikepius

i find this article Awesome! I was particularly touched by the illustration of the smelling man in the supermarket.... I too have suffered cruel judgement from others so i can empathize... Mozes preached fairness, so did Jesus, and so do you! Thank You!

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