Sunday, March 6, 2011

To Care or Condemn....How do we move past flowery words?

This beautiful painting is by Liz Lemon Swindle.  The story behind the art from Liz's website is such...The leaders of the Jews brought an adulterous woman before the Lord asking if she should be stoned. Christ simply said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Convicted by their own conscience, the crowd disappeared leaving only Christ and the accused. “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” he said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

How do we move past flowery insincere words to meaningful heartfelt love for those in our lives that sin? While I may sound like I have the answer for this. I learned from anothers example: Jesus. Such as in the story of the Jews and the adulteress his life was the example that we should learn from. So taking that into account I will put up some points to think about when you find your self quick to judge

  • Pray: When you are made aware of someone who needs help ponder, pray and ask whatever deity or guiding light you call to first how you should proceed.
  • Don't ask: When someone asks you for help or needs someone to listen and you know it's a direct reaction to perhaps a separation, divorce or bad decisions made on their part. You are not entitled to their information in payment for your empathy. (keep in mind if this person was to be in your home or is in need of things that could pose a threat to your family, yourself or possessions. Then proceed accordingly. Use common sense.)
  • Don't imagine: As an author I know the power of imagination. From personal experience do not try and figure out what happened to this person. I can personally testify most often your conclusions are much worse than the truth. So don't do it!
  • Like them: Try to find something to admire about them. Even if it's that they have great feet or bathe regularly. There is always something that you can find to hang on to to try and appreciate them. Attempt to look at them as a parent would a child or perhaps even as God would his child. 
  • Be Prepared: Often times you will be met with social or public disdain by those who know some of the person's past indiscretions or who were offended by them. Another consequence to this type of care is the reaction of one who you have come to care about. They may feel confident enough to persevere, to become the person they could be and when that happens you will find a loyalty from them that lasts longer than any public or social disdain.
In conclusion this is no easy process and the farther away personally the person is from you the easier it is. However, I've had experience with this more often now than before (reference this post) and I can confidently say that I have gained some truly amazing friendships and understanding about people that have made me a better person and writer.

Have you ever been in this situation? If so how did you react?


  1. This is nice, Bri, but when you ask, "How do we move past flowery insincere words to meaningful heartfelt love for those in our lives that sin?" I thought you meant for us to consider how we forgive ourselves. We all sin and truly, it's not our business when others do. Beam vs. mote.

  2. I totally agree. I was trying to convey that in the whole do not condemn thing. I love the beam and mote scripture too.

    I think sometimes though we are at a distance and think that by keeping at a distance that we aren't judging. Or rather I've found myself doing that.

  3. Well, and frankly, I'm not one to talk. I didn't speak to my brother for ten years and not so much because I thought he was "sinning" but because his life went on a trajectory so very different than mine. So when he died, I didn't even know him, and it's my fault. Of the two of us, I was the one with a stable home. I was the one without mental illness. I was the one who had a good credit and a community and a future. So even if I didn't call him a sinner, I made the judgment that he wasn't worthwhile to have in my life.

    So back to your post, I like the "try to find something to admire about them" because that implies that you know this person, you are keeping that person in your life. I guess my way was/is to ignore, to stay away when uncomfortable, and that's not right either. From my teaching life, I think the best thing on the care/condemn question is to model correct behavior, without mentioning a thing about it. Just be the example by being your (best) self. And from what I know of you, Bri, you have no problem being yourself! :-)

  4. I didn't know that Christine. I'm sorry to hear that about your brother. I do try to find something to admire about everyone. It's makes it' easier to be tolerant of ignorance or weakness. I'm definitely not at all a general authority but I've been trying.

    Oh how you know me Christine. I do try to be myself. And I love that idea to just try to be quietly supportive.