I was going through my Facebook feed, as I do every morning while eating my oatmeal, and I came across a couple of articles that had me thinking, why is it that we feel the need to judge others?
I let Tessa walk home from school. It is about a half mile walk, along some very busy streets, with lots of teenage drivers. Do I worry about her until she gets home? Yes. Is there problems? Yes. Is it good for her to still walk home? Yes! I feel like it gives her two things, one: a sense of accomplishment, that she can take care of herself; and two: the idea of being able to problem solve if something arises. Tessa is a thinker, and if I don't ever trust her to do the things she CAN do, then when will she ever take the chance to do things she doesn't know she can do? Does that make sense? The biggest problem we have with her is that she is small; like really small. Often, people will ask her if she is getting baptized soon. People, she's 12, not 8. Consequently, with her smallness, I often get looks like, how could you let her walk around with that baby? Or, how could you let her wander the store by herself? It is so annoying, and frankly, a little disheartening. I got the same looks with Lilly, my other small child. I should probably be used to it by now.
One of the articles I read this morning was about how we, as a nation, instead of helping other parents, when they are giving their child some autonomy, we are calling CPS on them. Now, please, there are definitely times when CPS should be called! I'm not disputing that! But, the case I'm thinking of is the parents that let their 10 and 8 year old walk to the park and home by themselves. It was actually a long walk, about a mile, but they had been doing it consistently, and then someone decided they knew these kids better than their parents, and they called the police, who then picked up the kids, took them home, and then threatened the parents in front of these same kids. Now, you tell me, what caused more harm? The kids were confident, felt that they were capable to make decisions, felt their parents trusted them to do what was right, and most importantly, felt loved. And then someone told them, none of that is true, because we know your situation better than your parents do. What?!?
Now the second article I read was a much different scenario. I've liked the Facebook page Humans of New York. I find it so fascinating, because this guy can get some great stories out of people, and it's amazing the stories that people have. You would never know! And that's just it, you never know what people are battling, or have battled. The story today, a young lady who moved to New York, by herself, to start a relationship with a married man that is a bdsm relationship. The author of HONY put up her anonymous picture, her short story, and then made the first comment, stating for the Facebook community to be kind to this woman, as she feels incredibly isolated in the world, because of people's judgements against her, and her choices. So what happens? People immediately started to trash her, her lifestyle, her "affair", her life. It was the saddest thing to read. There were kind comments, but so, so, so many negatives. Does that help? Are you making her feel like she can escape this life? Or is she feeling worse about herself, and where she is headed?
Think, people, think.
A while ago, I read a comment about people that have addiction. This comment was specifically pointed at people that are addicted to pornography, but it felt like it was really broadened to all addictions. The comment read that people that have addictions are selfish, don't think of anyone but themselves, and are murdering the souls of those that are affected by their addictions. Whoa. That's saying something. So, can I just say, that I know people with addictions, and not one of them, NOT ONE, wants to have that addiction. No one that is addicted, to anything!, wants to be addicted. Did they make some bad choices, and choose to start something that made them addicted? Yes. Does that mean they wanted to have their lives completely taken from them? No. No one wants to be stuck in the rut of never being able to be free. And once addicted, life becomes so narrow, down to just when can I get my next fix, whatever that fix may be. Addicts already feel the isolation of being addicted, but to then be told how worthless they are, isn't helpful. Be careful of the things you say, for you may cause more damage then good in the cause of "warning people". Love is needed, not judgement.
There are so many stories in the scriptures, of the Savior loving the sinner, and giving them hope by his acceptance of them, sins and all. Thinking of the woman that was "taken in adultery" and how the Lord pointed out that we are all sinners, and have no cause to throw stones.
Each of us have our own story to tell, and when you hear someone else's, be kind. First, that we probably wouldn't want our story out for all to hear, and second, when it is out there, be slow to judge, and quick to sympathize. Or empathize. For you never know when your story will be told.
And that's it for today.