“But people love a hypocrite, you know——they recognize one of their own, and it always feels so good when someone gets caught with his pants down and his dick up and it isn’t you.”
― Stephen King, The Green Mile
Why is it that we relish in the misery of others?
I suppose some would say that we don’t, or, if we do, we are in the sick minority. All of us good Christian people have sympathy and empathy with those who are in misery. Those who suffer rely on our prayers and kind words to survive.
When reality crashes the party, that isn’t always the case, is it?
Take, for example, when trouble befalls a family. Let’s say a child of said family finds himself or herself in trouble. As Christians, our duty is to pray for that family, offer them our support (in private) and let them know we are there if they need us.
Seems simple, right?
From where I’m sitting, it seems like everyone is just waiting for something bad to happen to a family, so we go can into judgy turd mode.
What is a judgy turd? Allow me to explain.
The JT folks like to act like they are so concerned about the stricken family. They accept confidences and nod and give sage advice. Then, as soon as possible, they start the gossip wheel a-turnin’.
Who can I tell?
Did you hear?
Can you believe it?
I always knew something like that would happen!
Isn’t it just awful?!
You know I’m not really surprised, he/she was never any good.
Look how the parents live! Is it any wonder?
And on and on it goes.
Here’s the worst part of it all–most of the folks participating in the public castigation of a family take a break from their Vitriol to warm a church pew on Sunday. Priorities, right?
Jesus didn’t care much about the social status of the people he kept company with. He was questioned about it openly a few times, and no doubt the JT’s of the time were giving him hell behind his back. He hung around the worst possible crowds. When he was asked about it, do you know what his response was?
The physician comes to help the sick, not hang out with the well. (My paraphrase.)
Digest that for a minute.
Maybe that implies that if we are truly Christ-like, we need to rethink our dealings with the “sick.”
My observations lately have shown me a bunch of holier than thou do-gooders who don’t want to get their lily-white robes stained by associating with the “common sinner.”
I am no theologian–far from it. I am Thomas all the way. There’s never been a greater sinner than me. But I will tell you this–when I see someone struggling, there is a magical phrase that flashes through my mind:
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
So maybe, when you hear that juicy bit of gossip, instead of calling the first person you can think of, maybe stop your day and say a prayer. Thank God that you yourself aren’t dealing with such a thing, and then pray to ask God’s guidance as to how you might help those who are struggling.
And ask him to help you not gossip, and to not judge. Ask him for the guidance to look into your own home with as sharp an eye as you look into the homes of others.
Someone’s kid in trouble? Let’s talk about that.
What most of us fail to realize is that the majority of the young people we see getting into trouble are just regular kids, even good kids, who made bad decisions. The career criminals, like we see on tv, make up a smaller percentage.
What can we learn from this? Well, how about that any of us could be a few bad decisions away from a real shit storm. It happens. It is, unfortunately, our human nature to act first and think later, and it’s to our great detriment. Sometimes we narrowly avoid disaster.
Sometimes we don’t.
So instead of offering our opinions as to why someone’s kid got in trouble, or someone’s husband was caught cheating, or someone was dipping into the till at work, perhaps we can just be sorrowful that it happened, send good thoughts and prayers to those people, offer help if that is appropriate, and then, as one of those annoying ass Disney Princesses says, “let it go.”
Let’s put our focus into our own homes, and, more specifically, into our own hearts. For the most part, we’re all pretty much fighting the same battles, with one or two of our own particular vices thrown in for variety.
I’ll say this: if you find yourself enjoying a peculiar sense of glee at someone else’s misfortune, even the misfortune of your enemy, then you need to take a hard look at yourself. You need to pay special attention while you are warming that pew on Sunday (or Saturday.) And if still nothing strikes you, maybe you had better review your religious affiliations. Because if your religion doesn’t teach you, at its core, to love others and always act with love and compassion, even when you are disagreeing or correcting, then you are following the wrong religion.
Who says so?
The original Judgy Turd.