Moments spent pondering creates opportunities for us to learn and be taught by the spirit. Many times these quiet moments of reflection allow me the ability to resolve issues and challenges I may be facing. Recently I dealt with someone from my past that has been extremely judgmental of me and the issues I have faced in my life. A moment to ponder this morning provided extreme clarity on the issue.
A judgmental individual is a stigma that is difficult at best to overcome, especially for individuals whose holier than thou attitudes have created extreme duress and difficulty for others along the way. Try as one might to move beyond that reputation, every future encounter with someone who was on the receiving end of a judgment views that person with extreme prejudice, and almost certainly never to trust again.
This weekend I had to opportunity to bump into a local dentist of ours who lives in the neighborhood and at one point we attended church together. Just over ten years ago while my family was being torn apart from some repeated affairs of my ex, this individual assisted my ex in hiding the affairs and in preventing me from seeing my son for some time. During this extremely difficult and challenging time, as i dealt with the heartache of another affair, the desire to see my son and the desire to keep our family together which we did for another 3 years, this neighbor became very judgmental of me as I fought to keep our family together, I watched as I would walk down the hall at church to see him notice me and walk to other way. He was my dentist for a short time prior to this and I soon found it impossible to get an appointment with him. I noticed that he became indifferent with many people around him and began to treat others equally as poor as I was being treated. I watched him as his anger got out of control in a basketball game and he picked another player up by the throat and choked him, while pinning him against the wall. It appeared that this man’s world too was falling apart.
I struggled with this for some time. I wondered what I had done to this person, whom I considered a friend both in and out of church. Someone whom I had respected over the years. I am certain that he too may have been facing his own demons. Over the years, this has bothered me greatly. I must admit that at times I wondered if he too may have been having an affair with my wife. Maybe he hoped that she would leave me and he could step in. Over time I dismissed these ideas and attempted to move on. I stopped by his office once or twice, trying to open doors again. He would have nothing to do with me. I still have no idea what I may have done that so deeply offended this individual. I could think of nothing.
Sunday I bumped into him again. A decade has passed and I am no closer to understanding this than I was when it was fresh and he and my ex were close friends. I had personally thought that I had moved past it, then he did the same cold calculated move as always in the past. He looked at me, said hello to my mother and without a word to me turned and walked out the door. The coldness towards me that came from this man would refreeze the polar ice caps.
I have thought much about this encounter this week. At first I was angry with the arrogance and judgmental nature this man has and continues to display towards me. Then I took a moment to ponder and pray.
On my drive into work this morning, after I had said my prayers to forgive again and move on, in the quiet moments in the car a thought entered my mind. Maybe he is not being arrogant or judgmental at all. Could it be that he is so deeply ashamed of his actions over all these years that he does not know how to react and his shame drives him from my presence? Maybe this man is carrying a burden from past events that prevents him from being able to face someone he has wronged? Maybe facing me brings back unresolved and possibly unrepentant issues from his past? I do not know.
I do know that what I felt today was significant. I was able to see someone whom has judged and treated me poorly for all these years in a different light. One where maybe what i interpreted as him being judgmental was actually his sorrow and shame for the past. There are always two sides. I in fact over the years began judging him based upon the judgements I felt coming from him.
My eyes were opened this morning. I wonder when we stand before God, how many of us will feel the shame of our unrepentant actions and be like my friend, unable to stay in the same room or look upon him, as my friend was with me. How much heartache will that shame bring when we face our God and not some neighbor, or some stranger. “For inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.” We will have a sudden knowledge of all our past actions towards others.
I know I see the world differently today after a moment to ponder.