I don’t watch much television, but one show I do enjoy is called “Criminal Minds”. One of my favorite elements of this series is the quotation that they put at both the beginning and the end of each episode. The quote usually has some connection to the contents of the episode. While watching one day, I was completely caught off guard by how strongly impacted I was by one of these quotes. The words I heard that day are as follows:
“If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize, nor hate.”
Elbert Hubbard is the man who originally said that. Now it can be easy to brush this aside as another teach-and-preach quote that doesn’t really mean much of anything to anyone, but I was actually caught by this. If you ever find yourself in one of those contemplative moods, reflect on these words. Think of all of your favorite stories where somebody is raised as a figure to aspire towards, only to find that they aren’t everything we build them to be (Harvey Dent from the Batman franchise). Think of all the people that are hated in the beginning of a story, but as the plot unfolds, you find reasons to like them or at least appreciate them(for any who might follow Naruto, Gaara is an excellent example of this). The key here, is that this isn’t only about story characters. Many people/people-groups are revered more strongly than their secrets would support, and those who are hated might have backgrounds that, if you knew or had experienced, would put you totally out of mind.
I still find myself suffering from judgmental actions. Long ago I told myself that I didn’t have a hard time with not judging others. This was ill-conceived and self-righteous. Now, many years later, I accept the fact that I judge people almost automatically, whether I want to or not. What has changed is that I allow much more breathing room for my actions to follow these judgments. Recently I took that quote above from Elbert Hubbard and personalized it into my own motto:
“If we could only know one another, we would neither idolize, nor hate.”
I think its important to view this as something more personal and less detached than Mr. Hubbard’s version. I suppose I wanted to post this as a sort of kick-off to my new blog, but I also posted it, because I still walk by some homeless people and I cannot help but think: “Man, what stupid thing must they have done to screw their lives over?” or with overweight people: “Geez, it’s not that hard to eat less, or maybe start working out little by little. I do it, why can’t they?” so on and so forth, and this is wrong. I do not know them, I do not have a certificate in my room that says I am allowed to respond to them unkindly through my judgments. Perhaps the homeless man was born in a broken home, couldn’t afford adequate schooling, had no parental guidance, and consequently doesn’t know what a good decision is. Maybe the overweight person was in an accident because of some third-party drunk driver and now they have debilitating pain in their legs and lower back. Now, they could probably still fix some parts of their diet, but the point is you don’t really KNOW anything about these people. That’s just about all I’ve got to say for now. Please respond if you want, I love a good conversation. If you have a good read, please share. So on and so forth. 🙂 God bless.