Judging Others

“When you Judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself” -Wayne Dyerclose-up-court-courthouse-534204

One of the most powerful prayers I ever prayed was only one sentence long:

“Lord, help me to see every human being that I encounter, through the eyes of Jesus Christ.”

This simple thought, this massive objective, changed my life…for the better in every way.

It was anything but easy, because to start to see others through His eyes, I first had to confront my own. How we perceive things with our eyes is a reflection of our character and inner being…and when I first looked honestly at myself, I didn’t like what I found. I had told myself that I was a good person—kind and caring—so when I caught myself judging others for their looks, their style, or their mannerisms, it wasn’t compatible with what I had wanted to believe about myself.

In psychology, there are fascinating and complex concepts, such as cognitive dissonance, cognitive polyphasia and confirmation bias, that have shown that all human beings hold conflicting beliefs, that our motivations and desires are often in opposition, and that we are very skilled at self-deception.

We can choose to confront these divisions–which means admitting that there are dark and ugly places within ourselves–or we can choose to continue to convince ourselves of things that are simply not true; we can sit in the discomfort of the tension of honesty or live in the bliss of a lie.

I am thankful that I was able to take the hard look at myself and recognize that I was not yet the person I wanted to be. There was not condemnation in this realization, but rather hope. I had the opportunity to become better. I was capable of taking ownership of my life, my choices, and my behaviors. What’s interesting is that as soon as I recognized those unpleasant parts of myself, I began to see the incredible beauty in others. I had enough of my own sin, selfishness, and growth to focus on, that I didn’t have the energy to judge others for theirs. I simply accepted them. The more I did, the more I saw the beauty in diversity. I learned to LOVE each person’s uniqueness, and individual quirks became part of the loveliness of this life. How boring would this world be if we were all alike! I am grateful that I get to widen my experiences through knowing people that are not like me. My world became large and as I took in more of the beauty of the persons around me, that beauty made me more beautiful inside too.

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