I've been looking for inspiration for my next blog entry, ever since my last (and first). I'd almost given up and started getting this sinking feeling that perhaps starting this blog without any clear focus or goal in mind probably wasn't as good an idea as I'd previously thought. I felt like maybe Kaleidoscope wouldn't survive and would die a death of starvation. Then thankfully, I chanced upon a poem on a friend's (Prince Adu-Poku) facebook page. He'd named it 'Judge Not'. A little research on the world wide web produced the author, one Rama Muthukrishnan.
Here it is,
Pray Don't Find Fault
Pray don't find fault with the man who limps
or stumbles along the road,
unless you have worn the shoes he wears
or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt,
though hidden away from view,
or the burden he bears, placed on your back
might cause you to stumble too.
Don't sneer at the man who's down today
unless you have felt the blow
that caused his fall or felt the shame
that only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
that were his if dealt to you,
in the selfsame way, at the selfsame time,
might cause you to stagger too.
Don't be too harsh with the man who sins
or pelt him with word or stone,
unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure,
that you have no sins of your own
for you know perhaps if the tempter's voice
should whisper as softly to you
as it did to him when he went astray,
it might cause you to stumble too.
- Rama Muthukrishnan -
How many times have we heard or read stories and expressed our utter shock and disgust? We wonder, 'how could anyone in their right mind ever perform such a hideous act!?', many atimes we (well, at least I know I do) just conclude that the person was probably just that - not of right mind. We think they are merely weak, horny, lustful perverts with abnormal sex drives, bored individuals who have nothing better to do with their time, evil persons possessed by some kind of dastardly evil spirit, selfish, sourpusses, or paronoid individuals who think only about themselves. At times we think that something must have gone wrong seriously wrong in the lives of these people, perhaps in their childhood as they were being brought up.
Within the last four years or so, I have really come to understand the importance of not judging other people. My very own experiences and temptations have been the cause for that. Over the years, I have had to come face to face with and had to struggle through various unpleasant situations, experiences and temptations. Sometimes, I found myself struggling and failing; doing the exact same things that I had frowned upon and judged greatly just some few years earlier. I would sit back and think that I had had the best of upbringings. I went to the best of schools, was well disciplined and always well behaved with conservative and morally upright parents and yet still here was I finding myself failing when faced with situations. Yes, at this point I came to the unbelievable truth. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from; one can easily find oneself performing such should i say 'socially unacceptable behaviour' (SUB).It doesn't matter the situation. It may be acts of murder, theft, rape, pregnancy and childbirth out of wedlock, sex tapes, starring in porn movies, homosexuality, kinky sex, alcoholism, examination malpractices, drug peddling, addictions of all kinds, spouses living with abusive partners, etc. No matter what, I believe that we are all capable of performing SUB and even worse if we had to face the same circumstances. It doesn't matter how religious or morally-upright you may think you are. Anyone can do these things if only they are exposed to the same circumstances and struggles.
Don't get me wrong though. Some of the poeple who do these things really have no excuse, they are just mentally disturbed, lustful, bored, spirit-possessed just plain sick and evil people with no conscience. What I am trying to put across is that, it is wrong for us to put a label on everyone who is found behaving socially unacceptably. Some of them are just victims of circumstance. It is wrong for us to judge our fellow man, especially when we don't know the full story. What we hear in the form of gossip, rumours, stories on the news or in newspapers is not enough to understand a person's real reason for SUB. Let's desist from all forms of gossip and judging others because most of the times we don't know the full story, and it could have easily been us! Instead of raining judgement, gossiping and/or shunning their company, let's learn to be there for them; make an effort to understand them and encourage them. Let's stop being so narrow-minded and open ourselves to new things, ways of living, build our store of knowledge about life, other people and the world around us. Let's get out of the box. You never know when next you will be saving someone from a grave situation and making someone's life just that little bit more bearable!