My Grandma Myhrwold used to say, “There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, it behooves us all not to talk about the rest of us.” That repeated phrase made a lasting impression on me that continues to guide my way. To me it is more than just talking about each other. To me it represents a caution not to judge each other. Have you ever passed judgement on someone only to find out you were oh, so wrong? It’s a humbling moment isn’t it?
While I was stumbling through a bit of writer’s block while writing this…knowing what I wanted to say, but not how, I went to the piano, picked a piece of music and my fingers danced over the theme of Beauty and the Beast. The power of story to invoke wisdom is ever inspiring to me. The lesson of judgement is poignantly portrayed in the old folktale, “Beauty and the Beast.” We can so easily fall prey to quick assumptions about someone by their looks, what others say about them, or our assumptions from fragments of their words in conversations. But if we take time to hear their story, really listen, there is often so much more. So much more, that it would behoove us not to judge. Who are we to do that anyway? God?
It must have been evident early in our creation that we would stumble on our tongues of judgement. Look at all the warnings in the Bible: “Whoever has ears, let him/her listen.” Matt. 11:15; “Stop judging, so that you won’t be judged, because the way that you judge others will be the way that you will be judged, and you will be evaluated by the standard with which you evaluate others. Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?” Matt. 7:1-3; “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37. Oh, my. We fail so, don’t we?
Lau Tsu, the Chinese philosopher said, “Judge not, otherwise you will never become one with the total. With fragments you will be obsessed, with small things you will jump to conclusions. Once you judge you have stopped growing.” The lesson from Beauty and the Beast is exactly that…don’t jump to conclusions, do not become obsessed with fragments…look beyond what you see! If God acted as we, judged as we…we would not stand a chance. My wise father said, “When we judge others, we have no time to love them.”