Sunday, April 17, 2011

"The ugliness I see is evidence of who I need"

On Wednesday I sat with Peter in the library and we talked about being judgmental. Very briefly. Because one of us was studying. [Guess which!] I've been so burdened this week, catching glimpses of myself in my introspective mirror, seeing the silhouettes of my unbending judgments regarding the way my friends conduct themselves. I keep hearing Matthew 7:1 on a scratchy loop in my head: judgenotjudgenotjudgenotlestyoubejudged . . .

I don't like being opinionated. I don't like that everything is fraught with value implications. I wish I could go with the flow, and meet people where they're at, and see past the tension points. Instead I get hung up on their blatant selfishness and narrow perspectives. It's pride, plain and simple, when I snidely smirk at the assessments of others' stupidity, and I shake my head, and I think to myself, "Don't they see how foolish we all are?" It is not that I think myself superior, only that I frame each interaction in the context of a moral dilemma where we're all on the wrong side. Too often, too often.

My judgments aren't all bad, of course. My coworkers were talking about jail-breaking their new iPad 2s: "Why would you want to do that?" -- "So I don't have to pay for apps." -- "But, that's stealing . . ." -- "You're my personal Jimminy Cricket." This is the conversation I end up having most often, the anti-pirating, ethics of torrenting, don't steal stuff conversation. I try to keep it casual, and ask a lot of questions, not to be manipulative but to understand their logic.

It gets harder when the abortion thing comes up. I am so sick of these people who say, "Abortion isn't a good thing, but it should be between a woman and her doctor." As though murder should be between a psychopath and their therapist! [These are the kind of enthusiastic absolute statements I bring into my conversations on ethics.] My conviction gets the better of me. I get sick thinking about this atrocity, I have to sink deep into myself to find any dregs of compassion and empathy for opposing viewpoints.

But that's what it comes down to, isn't it? Speaking the truth in love? I have worked so hard to develop a sense of accord for each facet of thinking, to see things from another perspective that I may answer them in their language . . . but I'm losing the truth as I'm losing my love.

I don't know everything about right living. I should stop pretending that I do.

The mouth is a mirror // we must watch what we say.


Art said...

I love you.

also, this is a good post.

L.E. Fiore said...

Aaaaaaaaaah. Yes. Hayley. I've been... thinking... about... the. same. thing. (even as it relates to abortion, too. ugh.)

Micah E. said...

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a person and what they believe. And that makes it hard to love the person. I don't think this is the right way to deal with it - I detach people and their ideas completely. It's not. But. Yeah.

Good post.

Nicole said...

YES!! I can't tell you how many times I've left a conversation thinking either "Oh man. I totally steamrolled them with truth and very little love" or "I listened so much to them and sought to empathize with their viewpoint so much that I lost any semblance of rock-solid truth". It's so tough. That's why I find myself praying more than I talk. I have to. I have to let God do His work. Because I can talk until I'm blue in the face, lovingly or unlovingly, and yet God must be the heart-changer.

I'm still trying to find the balance of when to speak and when to listen.