Judging Others? Before I dive right into this new post, let me thank all my readers. I’ve received so many positive comments on my recent post and am always so happy to read how people appreciate what I share and write. I hope you will enjoy this one just as much.
Let me tell you about my weekend. In fact, this past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a retreat organized by the Ignatian Spirituality Centre of Montreal; “A Place to Belong—Exploring Spirituality and supporting LGBTQ+ Christians”… Just so you know, there is another in November (check it out here).
To be honest, I went a bit as an observer. I sort of felt as if I had something to do with this retreat and went without expecting much out of it. Well… I loved every little bit of it. There are certain things that really moved me and shook me to a point of revisiting my own convictions and beliefs … or my usual labels.
I Don’t Like Labels… But I still Label and Judge Others!
The retreat in general and the reflections were quite interesting, but two elements marked me in a very strong way; the presence of a trans woman and one of the sharing by one of the participants.
The way I present this topic might sound a little weird … but my circle of friends will know how I have no difficulties with all of the acronyms of the rainbow flag, but always claimed having a hard time understanding trans people! I confess it! I was literally judging all the time. I often tried not too … but…
There was something in trans people I did not quite understand. Although I tried making sense of it, I would often find myself criticizing or judging some of the people I’d see without even knowing what they had lived or what they had been through.
Well, this trans woman literally rocked my world, my thoughts, my ideas, and made me realize how I did not even have a clue of what these people go through! Who am I to judge? Literally … who am I? Everything she shared just made so much sense. I could now feel the pain of someone born in the wrong body and understand what it means to transition and go through so much hate and judgment.
Judging Just Like the Pharisees!
And later that weekend, as we were meditating a Gospel passage and trying to imagine ourselves in it, one of the participants said; “I cannot see myself in any of the main characters… I think I see myself in the Pharisee, because I’m always judging others!”
That literally hit me like a ton of bricks! I always referred to my priesthood as a phase of my life where I was a bit of a pharisee… I’d often call upon the Church or other priests as being Pharisee, but in my present life? I never really saw myself as a Pharisee until this guy shared it with so much conviction.
The guy is literally such sweet soul… I mean, are you sure? Don’t be too strict with yourself! You’re not a Pharisee… But hey, you know what? I think I’m the one who is more of a Pharisee!
Yes, how many times do I secretly judge others or criticize their way of thinking and of being. I do try to love everybody equally … but labelling is probably a very good sport of mine.
I go to the gym in the morning and as I’m training, I secretly label all the different people present. I go to the store and label those in line before me. It’s almost unconscious. I would never tell them or make them feel judged in any possible way … but I still do it way too much!
Love Is the Answer!
I honestly believe that love is the only possible answer. It’s so easy to judge and label others, but so much harder to choose to love them in all they are.
I’d go even further … like so many modern gurus will say, “Love is not what you do, love is what you are!” So, basically, we need to become love in order to fully love and not despise, cast others aside, etc. in any possible way.
It kind of resonates with my recent post about deserving true love. Maybe we first need to be “love” in order to attract true love… I’m not trying to play any semantic game … just reflecting out loud.
Welcoming Diversity … without judging negatively!
It all brings me back to my first experience in the gay village many years ago. I was about to leave the priesthood, my decision was taken. I was stepping out of my therapist’s office when I suddenly realized it was Gay Pride in Montreal. I decided to head downtown and go have a look.
Coming from a very conservative background, I had no idea of what I was getting into. As I started walking down St. Catherine Street, I was literally disgusted by what I saw. I saw men wearing only leather underwear and a leather harness, some guys dressed as a woman but clearly not transitioned, etc., and those are just a glimpse of what I saw that day.
I continued walking in a mixture of amazement and disgust. I couldn’t relate… I did not fit in… I mean, how can those be my people? I could not identify myself with any of the people I’d see.
As I got to the end of the line where all the action was, I decided to walk back. I remember breathing in and asking God to enlighten my path… It felt like walking on the highway to hell!
As I walked back, a thought suddenly came very strong in my heart and mind, “Nick, you might not understand, but try to look at them with God’s loving heart! They are screaming their desire for freedom and liberation. Many have been oppressed, rejected by their families, neglected, etc. They are screaming for acceptance.”
Well, you know what? As I was walking my way back, I suddenly felt love and comprehension for my people. I did not comprehend everything I saw … but I could relate in some way.
Love is Judging Differently!
So, basically, I realized this weekend that although there are those enlightening moments where I feel and understand others in a different light, I rapidly come back to my old habits of judging and labelling.
Let’s be clear, we judge all the time, we are beings gifted with free will and judgment. Judgment is not always negative… It’s more about how we choose to judge a situation and label others rather than judging in itself.
You never know what’s behind someone’s behaviour or situation! We should always choose to understand rather than condemn. In other words, we should always choose to love!
I’m sure you can share so many examples of situations you’ve misjudged! We unfortunately do it all the time! Want to share a story of yours? Leave me a comment!
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