Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beams and Motes

"3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

That is my favorite Bible verse (and thanks to Personal Failure for posting it in her blog too, can't get enough of it.)
Before I moved to Heathenism, I was Druid. Now modern Druids have this whole thing where you have to go through levels of teaching, almost like a Buddist enlightenment thing. I was doing really good, but I stalled out on Judgement. See, the Druids spend a long time teaching you impartiality, seeing things from both sides and approaching a situation with a calm mind. Then after you get that they teach you how to judge the situation clearly. I never could get past not judging a situation, seeing both sides and seeing where both sides are coming from is a stalling point for me. I can't decide who is right in that situation. I guess that is more Buddist than Druid, who knows. All I know is that after struggling with this for years I got a calling for another path and followed it and am quite happy.
Now, this was something I struggled with, which is why the above verse appeals to me. The act of judging herself before you turn to judge another is evocative. It's a guidepost, a reminder to never let yourself get too crazy because you think someone else is wrong. It's a similar idea as a Buddist saying, "Every person's path is as difficult as your own." You catch that in your mind and don't let it go and you find yourself not being as preachy or judgemental as before.
Now, the thing with all this is, I was taught for seven years how to come to that point. Many religions spend years teaching you that particular thing, overcoming your natural "I'm right, you're wrong" instinct and allowing yourself to become more accepting (and forgiving, especially of yourself because dude, you're not always going to be so zen about things). However the religion that came up with the phrase above has decided that this state of mind apparently comes to you. It really doesn't. It can be hard for some people to put aside their own feelings on things. It can be hard when your basic religion is peace and all manner of hippy stuff. When your church is yelling hate? How hard could it be then, to put aside that hatred and see the beam in your own eye? You are so blinded by that hate that you don't even notice, even though you carry it around everywhere.
People wonder why sometimes Fundies can't live to the tenets of Jesus. Because Jesus asked a lot of people. Like a number of other religious founders he knew that sometimes peace was a better way to enlightenment than hatred, and that people would be happier if they could all forgive themselves and others. That's hard crap to come to. Especially if you want to believe you are better than everyone else. When you believe that, the idea of forgiving anyone, much less yourself, is difficult, and they can only see the mote. It's sad, but they have gone way past the meaning of that passage.
So now all we can do is try to forgive them.

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