Judge not that you be not judged.
- Matt. 7:1
An old farmer had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically. "Maybe," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed. "Maybe," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the farmer.
So I stopped judging my situation – being in a wheelchair did not have to be good or bad. I understood what my Vietnam Vet friend meant when he told me not to struggle with a cane, but to go for the wheelchair when the time came. We tend to think that not being like everyone else is bad because it is not “normal”, but it is better than struggling to keep walking with a cane, or to try to be something we are not.
One day when I was outside looking at the trees and flowers, I realized that I did not judge them. On that day I decided that when I judged myself or anyone else, I would think of the person as a tree or flower, one of God’s beautiful creations, and just stop with the criticism and negative thinking! It takes practice, and I am far from perfect. On a more challenging day, in my mind’s eye someone who really ticks me off might be an autumn leaf about to drop from the top of an old gnarly tree. . . . .
When we stop thinking in terms of good and bad, we are freed from judgment and guilt and better able to accept what is, be it people or situations. On a practical note, I stopped beating myself mentally when I make mistakes, and I have actually learned not to let aggressive drivers and rude people annoy me. Imagine that!
*You can read more from Betti Effrig at her blog
"CONTENTEDCAT, finding peace with my Muscular Dystrophy diagnosis."
You may also enjoy reading Christian Larson's Pathway of Roses, from Newt List.