Monday, January 14, 2013

How to lose friends and (negatively) influence people

If judging were a profession, we'd all be rich. No question.

I want to talk to you about judging because it's a topic I've dealt with a lot recently. Over the course of the past few months, my personal life has undergone drastic changes and I've been the target of a massive amount of judging. Let's call it a tsunami.

I've had rumors fly, comments and speculation made, accused of things, been thrown under a spotlight and forced to defend myself against lies, half-truths, and even actual truths that didn't line up with what these people have decided is "right" for me. 

Does any of this sound ridiculous yet? Agreed. Unfortunately, it's something so many of us do all the time internally. We see someone and we think we understand their situation enough to condescend and shake our head and go, "I can't believe them..."

Example: Last week, standing in the post office, an older lady at the counter kindly asked the mother of a toddler to call her little boy away from where he'd grabbed hold of the woman's pant leg. And the girl behind me went off on a rant under her breath about it. Calling the older woman rude and "I can't believe how mean and bitter some people are." It went on and on and ON. for the rest of the time I stood in line. I wanted to turn around and shake her. Really, I wanted to say, "You don't know her demons so stop pretending like you do!" Because we don't know. What if that woman had an injury and the little boy hurt her? She did move slow when she walked out. What if she'd lost someone? What if she'd lost a GRANDCHILD? You just don't know her demons or what she's battling. Or she could have no reason except that she didn't want some snotty-nosed kid hanging on her pants. Either way, she wasn't rude and it was her business. QUIT JUDGING.

The main reason I didn't turn around and say these things (or more--I thought about pointing out how I lost a baby a year ago and I might've done the same had the little boy latched onto me since the sight of small children still gets to me.) But I didn't say anything. Because I had a feeling that with someone as close-minded as her, the reason wouldn't matter. No matter the battle or cause for the woman's behavior, I'm pretty sure this girl would've still been a hater. 

Truth: No matter what you try to explain, some people are just haters. 

No reason or battle or demon will be good enough. Those people only ask for an explanation in the first place so they have the ammunition they need to tear you down. Guaranteed, you could have the best reason or explanation in the world and they will twist and fold it until it is something they can condemn you for. 

Yesterday, our sermon was based on Matthew 7:6. It's the end of the paragraph that talks about judging and how before pointing out the speck in your friend's eye, you should remove the plank from your own. It says, "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."

After hearing the sermon and reading cross-referenced verses, my interpretation of this verse is this: I don't owe anyone an explanation for ANYTHING. Especially those that only seek it to further judge me. If you were truly my friend, I'd already have offered you an explanation in the context of, "I need your shoulder to lean on." If you have to seek me out to find out the deets, it's safe to say you aren't enough of a friend to deserve them in the first place.

OR like I said before: No matter what you try to explain, some people are just haters. 

Re-read the verse, but replace "pearls" with "explanation of your choices." See? and "what is sacred" is your integrity. Trying to explain yourself to haters (dogs) is like throwing away your integrity. Because very soon, you're living by their rules and not yours. You must be true to yourself and your convictions. You have to answer for your choices; they don't have to answer for the decisions they influence you to make. Remember that. 

As a result of all the heat I've taken, there has been some MAJOR good. I've come to realize who my real friends are. And I've come to value them more. I've also reaffirmed where I stand and what I believe in and I am 100% SURE of the choices I've made and why I made them. I am confident that I am doing what's best for me. 

And to the Judgy McJudgersons of this world: you don't see the whole picture. You don't know my story or what I'm battling. Even if you did, you don't know what it feels like to be me. And you probably couldn't see it if I told you, for the size of the plank in your own eye.