Some days are just one judgmental thought after another. Which is embarrassing (I’m better than this!) and unnecessary. When my head gets into other people’s business and out of my own, PLOOMP! I sink.
A day without judging is, like walking on water, humanly impossible, because our brains are wired to assess threats all day every day. Looking out for danger is a great skill, but a good skill can go bad. For example, I saw this the other day:
Let’s just say I had some judgmental thoughts. But here’s how to turn that around.
The second I realized that I’m thinking how the stroller money could have been better spent or how we’re aborting our children but pampering our dogs, I reached out to God to redeem that moment. By praying the opposite prayer, I avoided sinking into judgment and continued to walk in God’s love.
The prayer went something like this: “Lord, let this dog be a reminder to everyone of Your beauty and unconditional love. Bless the owner abundantly. Give her the grace she needs to get closer to You and love You more.”
Another chance came up on Wednesday when a noisy person infested the adoration chapel—ruffling pages, creaking the chair, and yawning with all the sound effects. As I started to sink into self-pity (Great—now I can’t concentrate!), the “opposite prayer” buoyed me back up. “Lord, thank you for your powerful love, which can penetrate my heart and transform it, no matter what else is going on. Even when I don’t feel loving, you are at work in my soul and in the soul of my sister who is so dear to you. I thank you with all my heart.”
Amazingly, a prayer like this instantly changes how we feel about the situation. We calm down because we’re now seeing things in their reality, through God’s eyes.
We can always ask God to inspire our redeeming prayer. With it, we will have saved that moment from being destructive to being life-giving. We will have participated with Christ in the redemption of the world. We will have helped “restore all things in Christ.”
So here’s wishing you a buoyant week!
Great remider to have that attitude of gratitude at all times, but especially during this season of Thanksgiving
I hear ya, Sister! Wishing you a beautiful Thanksgiving.
Resonation! Is there such a word? I too had an experience during Eucharistic Adoration; loud talk and laughter just outside the chapel. It interrupted my story about what I was doing. I was being pious and they weren’t. There’s a word for that: sanctimonious. Most likely the laughter came from a chance meeting of two friends passing through the church gathering space, sharing their joy. It sounded like that kind of laughter. I remember when I was baptized at age 60 it was an occasion of joy, may I say a party atmosphere. Joy bubbles over in my church. The prayer you suggested, Rose, is a get out of jail free card. It pushes beyond my dogmatic story that somebody is going to come along and ruin my day, and sure enough somebody obliges so I can experience the self-pity to which I’m richly entitled. There’s a better way!
Love it, Tom! Great example of “reframing the story.”
Thanks Rose. I’ve been thinking/ praying about this a lot lately. What a great antidote for judging.
Do have a blessed, happy Thanksgiving,
Thanks, Leah. I’d love you to share more insights on this. Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving, too!
What’s the difference between being judgemental and thinking uncharitable thoughts?
Than; you! Mary
Good question, Mary. I think uncharitable thoughts is an overarching term that includes being judgmental, but perhaps also covers more kinds of thoughts, like envy or wishing that harm would come to someone. So yes, if I’m rashly judging someone, it’s a kind of uncharitable thought.
THIS COMMENT ARRIVED VIA EMAIL FROM A CLOISTERED NUN:
Thinking about this Sunday’s message I have come to the conclusion that you are
very good if you can unseat judgment with prayer.
Women are intuitive and have life experiences to make some
judgments that can be very true. When I saw the carriage at first I thought baby was on the other side, then maybe the mother had lost a child. Then I read yours and thought
that was a pretty expensive looking carriage to be bought for a dog. We are always making judgments. Everything is so weird out there now maybe what you thought was true.
There is a prayer for the fruits of the Spirit, and a couple look like patience but are not.
Asking first for patience itself — which will make me support humbly all that is contrary to my particular tastes…the fruit of long-suffering which will impede me from brooking no delay, the fruit of gentleness which will calm every movement of anger, stop all murmuring, repress all susceptibility in bearing with the neighbor. How do we distinguish?
Are the fruits a level above Virtue.
With my prayers, Sister
Happy Sunday Rose.
Perhaps the lady’s dog is sick or could have an injured back leg and she was getting him some sun.
Perhaps also the young woman may actually be pregnant. We do not know. Thank you for reminding us to not be judgmental.
Thanks for all you do. I’m so happy that you are filled with JOY.
You’re so right. That’s what is so baffling about these judgmental thoughts–no evidence that they are true! I like the way you reframed the story to a charitable explanation. A great habit to get into.
this one is a good reminder for me especially… thanks,