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When the Window to the Soul is Smudged
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.
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.
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
(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.
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
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.”
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!”
What Says You?
How can we be less judgmental?
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