- People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
- “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:5
- “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” -Paulo Coelho,
It’s really hard to see your own shortcomings. Obvious statement, but painfully true. I’ve had a lot of time these past few months during my surgery and cancer recovery, and a great deal has been spent on looking deep inside myself and uncovering things I’d rather leave hidden or untouched. It’s so much easier to jump at someone else’s faults- especially when you had them pegged in your mind as “better than that”. But when you start to really dig deep within yourself…
Let’s be honest- none of us are “better than that”.
It’s a learning process. You can’t change years of thought-processes, habits, and understanding of the world around you overnight. And it’s even more difficult to try to prove change. I know I struggle hard with wanting those closest to me to really hear me, understand me, listen to me, get where I’m coming from. But it’s not that easy. Just as I fail miserably at this at times when others want the same from me, we can only live our lives the way we feel is right and true. And if people don’t understand it, or want to judge it…well, that’s not anything we should be stressing ourselves trying to fix or convince others about.
I know this all too well. I am a fixer to the core of my being. If I have a conversation with someone and (in my mind) it ends up being unresolved, there is a part of me that won’t rest until I find resolution somehow. I will argue with myself over whether I said or did the right thing after an interaction. I convince myself of my own personal morals, values, and convictions- until someone close to me mentions a change I could make, or points out (intentionally or unintentionally) what seems to be a flaw. Then, I’m overanalyzing and questioning myself for hours (haha, I’ve even second-guessed this post a couple times before hitting publish!!). Social media is the worst for personalities like my own.
But this has stemmed from years of a struggle within myself to be what everyone told me I should be versus who God created me to be and ultimately listening to His voice and direction. I took everything in as absolute truth when I was younger (especially when it came from influential people in my life), never able to let any criticism roll off my shoulders, and allowing careless words to bury deep into my being. As logical a person as I am, it fascinates and frustrates me how intensely I can take emotions as well.
(A logical-feeler. I believe that whole Myers-Briggs business refers to this personality type as an “INFJ”…which, of course, happens to be one of the more complex and hard to explain. Yay!)
So all of that to say this: You don’t know what drives people to make the decisions they make or the actions they take in life. Could it be personality? Could it be influence? Who knows. But we are so quick to judge others and question their choices. What if we made a conscious effort to catch those judgments instead of letting them fly freely? I’m a work in progress with this. Which is why I’m confessing it to you now and wanting to be better.
We usually judge someone based on a flaw or shortcoming within ourselves. So I’m challenging you today (just as I’m challenging myself): Work on your own plank. Next time you have a critical, negative thought toward someone or toward a situation they’re in, redirect it at yourself. Ask yourself why. Search for the root. It’s going to be difficult, but it takes conscious effort to change the way you think or react. It takes conscious effort to love instead of judge.