I spent much of this morning following a breaking news story about a local politician embroiled in what will likely be a career ending scandal. Sadly, I would usually be right there with the rest of the public shaking my head in judgment and cynicism, lamenting the lack of morals and good sense so often on display in our public officials.
In this case, I am just heartbroken.
I know this man and I have worked with him. In spite of the demons he appears to be battling, I have always liked him and found him to be an outspoken champion for the poor in our community. Without his advocacy and leadership, the dreams of our recently completed shelter for homeless individuals would not have been realized. While we may not personally be friends, I consider him a good friend of The Lamb Center and I am deeply saddened by his struggles.
If I didn’t know from personal experience the good he had done in other areas of his life, I could easily read this morning’s news story and paint him into a monochromatic corner. The crimes with which he is being charged would make it easy for me to categorize him as a “bad guy” and write him off as just another example of evil, corruption and abuse of power .
But life really isn’t that simple or clear cut, is it?
I made the mistake of reading some of the comments people are posting beneath the online story. As I was reading, I wondered if any of these people would say these things to his face. Yet, even as I “judged” them for the joy they seemed to be taking in his public fall from grace, I recognized myself. While I might not post an ugly comment in an online forum, I too have looked at someone I don’t know personally and silently congratulated myself on my moral superiority.
But hopefully, I am still a work in progress. In honor of my 52nd birthday on Monday, here are five things I am still learning. More specifically, here are five things I would like to learn to live without.
The need for judgment
We are right to be outraged by outrageous behavior and we are right to hold each other accountable for our actions. Yet, too much of my judgment of others is based on incomplete information. Continue reading