I consider myself a person with a good deal of empathy and who genuinely wants the best for others. When I see someone in a situation that is less than ideal, it breaks my heart. When I hear sirens racing to help someone I send a silent prayer for the well-being of parties on both sides of that siren. When I see someone stuck on the side of the road, I say with sincerity, “I hope you have a better day my friend.” As someone who has found themselves on the wrong side of a siren going to the hospital, and stuck on the side of the road, and once in a busy intersection, I can feel for these folks. This also holds true when I see people living a life that is less than they can. I see someone who is always drinking, I feel bad that they seem to be wasting a good deal of their life. When I see someone who exists in a constant state of anger, I feel bad that they will miss a lot of the joy life may hold.
I often feel for and pray for these people as well. Then it occurred to me. Just like sending a prayer for people on both sides of the siren, I need to pray for both people on the side of this situation. In my empathy, I am also doing a form of judging these people. I do not know what caused them to be in this situation. Maybe they have a right to be angry all the time? Maybe that person who is drinking is dealing with far more than they let on? It was then I began to realize I needed to wish that I would be blessed with a little more compassion. It was not my decision to decide what is the best life for anyone. Although it was done with a hope and desire for everyone to live their most amazing life, it was not my place. I realized, in some small way, I was taking the job of God. Then I began to pray for myself to have a great deal more understanding and compassion.
Have you found yourself harshly judging others? Even if we do it with a hope and desire that they may find a way to improve, we need to understand we do not, and will never, know their entire story. May we all wish the best for each other, but may we also do so with the greatest amount of compassion and understanding.