Monday, December 13, 2010

expecting the best of each other

quirky 12-10

For the past few months, I've been thinking about judging, as in unrighteous judgment. Specifically, I've been pondering what it means to judge, different ways in which one can judge another, and most importantly, the areas where I could stand to do a little improving on this front. 

All this thinking has led me to make a few changes in the way I deal with a few of the people that I encounter.  I still have a ways to go, but it feels good to be a little more forgiving, a little more tolerant, a little less critical.

Along those lines, I really like this quote:

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other" (Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1992, 18).
Reading over the quote, I think the areas that are of particular application to me are remaining quiet (although I don't consider myself one who engages in illicit gossip, I must admit that it can't be said of me that I never say an unkind thing about another person.), and having patience with someone who has let me down.

A few nights ago, Eric and I were talking over this and that, and the conversation turned to a particular situation involving some people I've known. Long story short, there's been an extra-marital affair, and the couple are working on getting a divorce.  I was reminded other occurrences where the facts had been similar, and how it had all played out in those situations with those people. 

As I thought of this, I opened my mouth to share my opinion on all the situations, what I thought about them, what I thought should be done, and how I thought it should all fall out.  I felt a twinge of guilt, but I set that aside, reasoning that nothing that I said would leave the walls of our home, and so it was okay for me to have and share my oh-so-erudite thoughts.

I started out, saying; "You know . . . " and then I stopped.  I think my voice knew what it took my mind a little while longer to grasp, which was that although what I said would be kept in our home, the fact still remained that sharing my opinion would do no good, and would probably cheapen us both, and so it was better to just keep my mouth shut.

So (for once) I did just that.  I shut my mouth, and I opened my heart and mind.  I realized that I had no idea what any of these people had experienced or were experiencing, and that I had no right to even have an opinion, much less share it with anyone at all.  Even Eric.

Doing that was liberating.  It felt free. It felt good.  It felt right.

It felt like something I want to do again.

photo courtesy of SweetOnVeg


Kami Willis said...

Thank you for the lesson.

Brian said...

Everyone be nice to each other :D! I wanna live in a happy world.

Heather Albee-Scott said...

That is a very beautiful quote, Charlotte, thank you for sharing it.

Bamamoma said...

Nice. Phil was so very good at that. It pained him to hear anything negative about others, let alone speak it himself. I learned to watch myself more closely but have found myself slipping without his influence. Thanks for the reminder.

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