I came to terms with a “condition” of mine today. It’s something I’ve known was present for a long time, just chose not to deal with it with any real specificity.
As I was walking out to my car for lunch, I noticed a lady sitting in her car talking on the phone with her door open. Naturally, she was taking up another spot with her door hung open and I thought that was rude. As I watched her finish her conversation, she got out of the car and walked toward the store. I could tell by her stride that she must feel she’s pretty important.
It was at that point that I began to chastise myself for those thoughts. How many times have I left my car door open to get a breeze while eating lunch? All with no thought to whether or not someone might want to use the space next to me. How many times have a strutted thinking I’m all full of myself? How often have I thought it rude of someone to take up two parking spots by parking their fancy car sideways so they wouldn’t get any door dings. Only to realize, I’ve done that a time or two.
Netting it all out, it amounts to judging. Forming an opinion about someone or someone’s actions without knowing the person is pretty pitiful. Unfortunately I do it a lot. I even do it with people I know.
Another experience today that “convicted” me was an encounter I had with a customer. He was looking for something specific and I showed him where he could find the item. He began to ask me questions about the item that were obviously marked on the package. As he continued to ask questions, I could feel the frustration growing inside. Then, it dawned on me – this person can’t read. He wasn’t asking questions because he wasn’t willing to take initiative to find the information out for himself. It was simply that he couldn’t!
Of course, I’m perfect. I think perfectly, act perfectly, speak perfectly, and live perfectly. Well, that might be a mild exaggeration. No – actually it’s a huge exaggeration. There is nothing perfect about me. My mind is cluttered with thoughts that are shameful at times. My actions are often carried out with little concern for others. My words are sometimes crafted to cut and not heal. How pitiful that is. What grounds do I have to form judgements about anyone? Obviously the answer to that questions – I don’t!
The only reason this has any bearing on anything is that it was a personal revelation. An exposure of self that made me stop and say – “That’s not how a man of faith should conduct himself.” Naturally, the danger there is, I can clean up my act and then find myself a bit holier-than-thou. Which – you guessed it – isn’t any better than my original condition. In fact, it could be considered worse. Oh my – I do so hate such personal revelations.
Father Spirit, create in me a clean heart. Renew a gentle spirit in me that honors not only You but my relationship to You. Purge my heart of the nastiness of judging others and move to a spirit of acceptance and love.