We have been created with different gaps that are filled by God, people and other various things such as work. The first one remains a gap until one decides to invite God to our lives. The second is filed from birth till we die; first by family, friends, mentors, spouses, our own families…etc.
At the bottom of our hearts, we desire that these people are understanding, caring, considerate,and so forth. We expect that they will understand when we speak, our intentions will be rightly picked. But mostly, this is not the case.
You will ask a question out of concern and it will be misinterpreted.
You will make an explanation that leaves things worse than they were before you dared.
You love your work and colleagues, but it doesn’t appear so. You really care for your family and friends, it appears otherwise. Your intentions are right, but they are misunderstood. I have been there not once. I have felt judged, in the wrong way, and desired to be understood, to explain myself, to justify my actions.
It is in such times that I have applied my heart to learning and picked several reflections that I hereby pen down.
Richard J. Foster in his book, Celebration of discipline (pg 74) teaches us to “…. check how much of our speech is aimed at justifying our actions. We find it almost impossible to act and allow the act to speak for itself. No, we must explain it, justify it, demonstrate the rightness of it. Why do we feel this compulsion to set the record straight? Because of pride and fear, because our reputations are at stake!
This compulsion is particularly easy to observe among people who earn their living by being good with words (e.g HR professionals). If, however, we gradually make ourselves one of the principal subjects of study we will be delivered from a haughty spirit and in time we will be unable to pray/speak like the Pharisee “God, I thank thee that I am not like other men …” (Luke 18:11)…”
I have also learnt that trying to justify a criticism denies me the opportunity to pick a lesson. Just as Gordon McDonald says in his book, Ordering your Private World (pg 127) , if we analyze criticism given to us, we are likely to find a kennel of useful truth in it. although sometimes really small. So instead of mourning over it, look for any speck of truth in it and begin to grow in the hands of your criticizers. You will not only become better, they too will see a change in it.
I do not want to forget that I too have judged, severally. And someone was hurt, someone felt misunderstood. So I write this to myself and to those that feel judged today.
From today, begin to live from the place of acceptance. The place of peace when you feel judged for things you have not intended. Too many explanations worsen it. Act and allow the act to speak for itself. Look for any speck of truth in any criticism offered and begin to grow. Lets meet when we are peaceful human beings, with peaceful inner lives.