Friday, September 09, 2011

Dirty laundry or dirty windows?

I heard this story once told by Thomas S. Monson:
A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!

I thought this was a cool story. How often are we (and by "we" I mean "me") looking thru a dirty window? So busy finding others "faults" and pointing out their "weaknesses" while ignoring our own? I try to pride myself on not being judgmental. That's not saying it doesn't happen-- but I make a conscious effort to stop myself from judging even if I've already started. I like to apply the "Maybe his sister died today..." method. Seriously. When my sister died I remember walking in a daze thru Walmart thinking, "How are all these people going on like nothing happened today!!!" I am sure I was possibly rude to someone, ignored someone talking to me, made a mean face at someone... who knows what else... without even realizing I had done it. I hope if I offended someone during that time that they forgive me. I was having a really bad day. I like to try to give others the benefit of the doubt. Yes, when someone's rude to me it makes a funny Facebook status, but do I dwell on it and wish that person ill-will? Psh, no. I have better things to do with my energy.

A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when others judge by outward appearance. We are all guilty of it. I mean, tattoos = TRASH, right? haha I, personally, find tattoos beautiful and love when they tell a story. If I could I would have a ton. I mean, I CAN, but quite honestly I don't want the judgmental comments or looks I know I would receive- especially at church. The one place you should be judged the least is often where people are the harshest. I think it's a self-esteem issue. If others seem worse than you it makes you better... or something like that. I couldn't care less if you have tats or if your hair is blue (I have blue streaks in mine...) or if you have a big nose ring.  If that's the way you like to express yourself, more power to you for not conforming. Who am I to judge?
There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”....

-- Thomas S. Monson

Often I hear people complain or put down people that are doing their best in a job at church or school. They think they could do better or that someone else should be doing the job. When we speak unkind of others efforts or pass judgment for their work or their looks who looks uglier? The movie "Shallow Hal" is a silly move with a really awesome message. In the movie, Hal is a shallow guy who thinks he is God's gift to women, only deserves a super model and makes fun of those that are overweight, not beautiful in the world's eyes, etc...  He is basically put under a spell so he sees only the inner beauty of people rather than the outer. Beauty is based on others attitudes, good deeds, kindness, etc... He is dating a girl who is actually not physically attractive according to the world's standards, but her inner beauty is Gwyneth Paltrow.  This quote goes perfectly with the "Shallow Hal" message:
I ask: if attitudes, deeds, and spiritual inclinations were reflected in physical features, would the countenance of the woman who complained be as lovely as that of the woman she criticized?

-- Thomas S. Monson


We are all different. We all look different, think differently and have different challenges. None of us are perfect. Life is hard enough. Why make it harder on others by judging? Obviously judging is necessary when it comes to personal safety, etc... I'm talking about judging and speaking harshly of others because they are different than you or because you think you or someone else could do the task at hand better. I know that I am cleaning my windows today, removing the beam from my own eye and making a promise to judge less and love more.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

-- Mother Teresa