“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
I am fairly quiet in person to the point that I’ve actually been asked before if I’m deaf or mute. I’m extremely introverted and I prefer to observe rather than participate until I get a feel for new people in order to gauge what they can handle from me. And sometimes… or usually, if I’m being honest, I’m also silently judging those around me. This has been one of my biggest struggles as a Christian, but within the last couple of years, I’ve come to terms with how judgmental I can be and I’ve been forced to rethink it.
As I mentioned in my last post, Mr. Cooper and I are opposites in many ways. Like the way that I did not behave like a typical teenager in the sense that I never attended even one party and only had one serious boyfriend throughout the course of high school. He was a bit of a Lothario. A Lothario mixed with Keith Richards. Yeah. Despite the fact that it was all before me, I had a hard time coping with it all, specifically since I learned about his past from people who were not Mr. Cooper. Here’s the thing, he kept it all from me because he knew I was a “good girl” and he didn’t want me to leave him because of his mistakes. That alone hit me like a ton of bricks.
Mr. Cooper is a genuinely good man with a big, kind heart. He’s incredibly well rounded in the sense that he’s funny, talented and handsome, but he’s also an avid fan of history and astronomy. And despite all of that, I made him feel ashamed about his mistakes to the point that he felt that he had to lie by omission. Talk about taking a good hard look in the mirror.
Who am I to make someone feel that way –especially someone as wonderful as my now-husband, then-boyfriend? It was a wake-up call for me and it’s something I’ve been working on ever since and in turn, I tend to put a lot of thought into the concept in general. Stay with me here:
I’m a huge fan of tv, most recently Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and Dexter thanks to my good friend Netflix. The thing about these shows is that throughout the series’, you root for the anti-hero. The characters consist of men who are criminals who murder in cold blood, run guns, deal drugs and live above the law, mowing down anyone who gets in their way. Despite their crimes/flaws, you hope that they win and that the other guys, the good guys, lose. As the viewer, you’re introduced to these characters and their backgrounds. You get an idea of where they came from, their families, and why they are who they are. You walk a mile in their shoes, so to speak, and it makes all the difference in how you relate to and empathize with them.
Unfortunately, real life does not come with the option to listen to someone else’s 10 minute inner monologues, not that we would care to hear them if they did. Personally, I’m glad they don’t exist in real life because it allows me to keep my skeletons buried safely and secretly in my closet. However, I feel as though things would be different from all of us if they did exist in real life. Instead of name-calling and judging people for their drug addictions, we would understand that these troubled people were seeking the love they never received at home. Maybe they were physically and sexually abused as children and getting high is the only way they think they can escape those demons. Perhaps we would empathize or offer encouraging words. Maybe then, we would realize we need to leave the judging to God and focus instead on loving the broken.
I mean, really think about it for a minute. What if all of our dirty laundry was aired? What if our dirty little secrets were displayed for everyone to see like Hester Prynne’s scarlet letter or Pinnochio’s growing nose? How differently might we treat others if were no longer able to hide the things we’re least proud of from those around us? Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but for some reason, we see it fit to judge others as if we are completely blameless when we don’t know their whole story or God’s purpose for that story.
I use my husband as an example rather than myself because his is, in my opinion, so much more inspiring. His mistakes which once made his heart heavy with guilt now make up part of his powerful testimony that he now shares openly with young men when he sacrifices a week of his vacation time to volunteer at youth camp. That same testimony moves him –and virtually everyone else in the room- to tears when he sings, “Redeemed.” Things happen to us all, but rarely do we take the time to consider where someone is coming from and where they’re going.
Nearly three years into our relationship, I have a much better understanding of my husband and myself. I am incredibly thankful that God placed him in my life because, while it has been challenging, he’s made me a better person. Funny how marriage has a way of doing that to a person.