I try not to get angry at people when they disagree with me. It’s not because I’m a saintly woman. I’ve simply learned that when you get sanctimonious with someone, God will turn around and bite you in the butt.
As soon as I climb onto my soapbox and start chugging soap suds into the biosphere, I’m sure to be slapped in the face with the very activity I’m decrying. “Don’t judge!” I rant . . . only to immediately feel myself judging the next person who posts something ridiculous.
Jesus summed up this phenomenon with his “plank in your own eye” lesson, as well as his “the measure by which you shall be judged” warning. I think too often we take Jesus’s sayings as scoldings rather than simple truths: this is the way the world works. Listen and learn. Proceed at your own risk.
Here’s the other, more important thing that I’ve experienced over and over again. A friend or acquaintance or family member expresses something with which I deeply disagree. I get all worked up and label the person “that imbecile who doesn’t understand police violence.” Only to immediately learn he or she supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body, or something else with which I agree.
We don’t agree on this, but we agree on that? So is she stupid? Or wise beyond her years? Or have I generalized my belief about her based on what I was interested in at the time, judged her, and self-righteously written her off? How unproductive is that?
If I wrote you off—maybe even told you off—I’ve lost the opportunity to work together on the issues on which we agree. You are a potential ally on an issue important to me, but I’ve ruined it. That’s the practical, everyday loss when you get on your high horse.
The other is the simple embarrassment when you realize, once again, God has bitten you in the butt.