Values - the most important value by which I wish to live by
Growing up Catholic, although I declare to no longer practice this, there are still many values from the bible I choose to live by, including many of the commands like thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill… although the thought has come to mind many a time.
But one value comes to mind above all others is the one translated as Judge not lest ye be judged.
This is a tall ask in today’s society, and a task that many fail. I’m positive that I’m one of many people put on this planet to test everyone else in regards to this value. Many a time people will talk down to me because for some reason, in their mind, obesity equals simple mindedness, after all, how can a fat person control their thoughts if they can’t even control their willpower or eating habits. When I was in school, teachers and other students would judge me because of my health issues.
I, myself, am guilty of being judgemental. I will often judge a book by its cover although I try not to. I tell myself to read the blurb, as it may shed light on a different opinion to what the cover is showing me, and this is often the case.
To not judge people in this era is to have tolerance for all ages, religions, sizes, traits and characteristics. This is far easier early in life, where experiences are few and painful lessons in life have barely started. I remember as a child not only not judging people but loving everyone I met, much to the chagrin of my very stressed parents when I would follow strangers to their homes and spend hours with them before heading on home myself well after dark. This was a time when telephones weren’t available in every household, and that included my parents, so it wasn’t like I could ring home and let them know I was still alive.
As painful lessons began, from bullying to rudeness to downright spiteful acts from other people. It’s easy to put a label on the type of person they are, so that people become categorized based on bad experiences. For example, it’s easy to say, “Oh I don’t like him, he’s a Muslim and Muslims don’t like dogs and will cross the street to avoid them”. To a dog owner, this simple act can be an unforgivable sin. My mum would have been hurt by people that did this. I try to see the bright side of everything, so when a person crosses the road to avoid me or the dogs I’m walking, I think, good, more room for me!” When my neighbour and I used to walk our dogs together, all small breeds, and people crossed the street to avoid us, my neighbour would say out loud to them, “oh it’s ok, they won’t hurt you, they’ve already eaten!” Many people never seemed to get the joke which I thought was rather sad. Or it’s just as easy to say oh I don’t like Middle Eastern people, their kind have blown up buildings and killed thousands, so they’re all evil. But this is just as bad as extreme Muslims saying all Infidels must be killed or Hitler saying all Jewish must die because all Jewish are greedy and money hungry.
As many have said, just because there’s one rotten apple in the bunch, it doesn’t make all apples rotten. And yes, occasionally there’s a rotten apple that appears perfect until it’s cut open, but does that mean we have to judge all apples the same?
I’m not perfect myself, I do know what it’s like to be judged before people even talk to me. They judge me on my size, my appearance, my age, how much money I have, what clothes I wear before even saying hello and never really get to know me for the person I really am. I know I’m not the clothes I wear, I’m not the excess body fat, or the bearded face that people see. I’m a person with a wicked sense of humour with thoughts so deep that not everyone can fathom, and who keeps these parts of me buried until I feel I can trust someone enough to share them to.
So I try my hardest to not judge others as I know they’re not just the colour of their skin or the religion they worship or the clothes they wear. Instead, I try to get to really know the person, give them the chance to show me who they really are and to show me the world through their eyes.
So for me, the most important value I choose to live by that basically covers all aspects of life is, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
© - Carol Nemes 7th August 2015