Thou Shall Not Judge…Unless You Deserve It

If you’re a person who frequents social media, no doubt you would have heard of Paul Wolscht, the 52 year-old transgender man who left his wife and children to live as a seven year-old girl. Read here if you haven’t already.

And no doubt you have read the story with a mixture of shock, horror, disgust, sadness and disbelief, as I have. This isn’t a story that sits comfortably with me, the idea that a grown man would leave his wife and – more so – his children to live with another family and have make believe tea parties with his adopted mummy and daddy. I cannot even imagine the issues his children will have and the way their lives will suffer at the loss of their father under such bizarre circumstances.

For days now, I’ve sat back and watched people post the link to the story and with it, attach their comments of judgement, condemnation and hate for this man, and have felt mixed emotions over it. Then today I found myself in a heated discussion with others who judged this man not just on his choices, but also on the abandonment of his children.

And I understand, I really do. I have lived without a father and I know firsthand the wounds that have been inflicted on me because of that; not only on the child-me but also on the adult-me who still suffers feelings of rejection and abandonment amongst other things.

But as I read through the comments today about him abandoning his children, I felt the need to defend the underdog. Because how can I sit back and judge another person for leaving his children when there was a time some years ago that I nearly left mine?

It was during a time in my life when I was spinning out of control. When the past I had been so fiercely running from collided into my present, and I self-combusted. I made bad choices. I hurt people I loved. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I just knew I had to get away from the pain at whatever cost. I spiralled downward through my journey of self-destruction and everything in me believed I was not fit to be a mother. I honestly believed my children would have a better future if I wasn’t there to mess them up with my own issues. I looked at my husband and the amazing father skills he has that I was in awe of, and felt unworthy and unable to measure up to that. I believed the biggest sacrifice I could make for my children was to leave and not give them the dysfunctional upbringing I’d had. And so I walked out the door with the belief that I was actually doing the best for my children.

Obviously I came back. I wasn’t gone for long before I knew I couldn’t live without them, and I got my life together for their sake. But during that time of complete unravel, if I had left for good, would anyone have believed I was anything other than selfish? Would anyone have searched deeper to seek out my suffering, my heart, and to realise that as screwed up as it may have been, I truly believed I was doing for my children what I thought they needed most – giving them the life I didn’t believe they would have if I were to stay with them.

And so the more I have thought about Paul Wolscht today, the more I have realized how easily we judge. How good it feels to read a trashy news article and embrace our righteous opinion based on our own moral compass. Based on whether we agree with a person’s choices or not. Based on not knowing anything about them, or their life, or their past, or their story.

But Paul Wolscht is just an example of what we humans love to do. We love to jump into a person’s story at any random chapter and think we have the right to judge the entire story. When the thing is, we don’t even know the story. We have not walked with that person from beginning to end, and so it can’t be our place to pretend we know what even drives their choices, let alone pour our condemnation upon them.

If you met me today, you would probably think I was a person who had it together. You may even want to be my friend. Unless you had read my earlier blogs and knew what a screw-up I actually was, and then I wouldn’t judge you for walking away. But if you’d met me during my darkest hour, how would you have judged me? Would you have seen my self-destruction as the symptom of a deeper pain and as someone in need of love, or would you have condemned me based on what you saw before you’d even taken the time to get to know my story?

It is never our place to cling tight to our moral compass and use it as the standard by which we treat others. It is never our place to form an opinion of a story based on the random chapter we have opened to. And it is never our place to judge another person when we do not understand their past, their pain, and why they make the choices they do.

No, we must not condone actions that are harmful or hurtful. However, we must be humble enough to dismiss our own egos and trade our self-righteousness for empathy. We must see beyond action and instead search for reason. We must learn the entire story before we can understand. And only when we understand, can we begin to help.

Mercy triumphs over judgement. These words were spoken by the One who sees our entire story. May we, too, seek out each other’s stories and lay our judgement down for the sake of mercy.

Because only then, will we begin to heal a broken world.

mercy

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Thou Shall Not Judge…Unless You Deserve It

  1. Narrow-mindedness is the worldly way of life. However, we have to realise that our beliefs are just thoughts rooted in the past, which may not be true or correct.

    When we are open-minded, we are more open to communication and able to pick up messages and meaning from other people around us. To be open-minded is an experience beyond our beliefs.

    I once had a conversation with an elderly mother, who spoke unkindly of her adult daughter. They had not seen each other for a few decades. I did not have adequate knowledge about their family dynamics or events that happened in their family. Therefore, I listened with an open mind.

    Years passed and through a convoluted process and an exceptional brush of luck, I met the woman’s adult daughter. The woman’s daughter shared with me accounts of her stories, which were very different from her mother’s version of events. She did not have any bad feelings towards her mother, who did not treat her well. I chose to believe her version of the story. That was based on the principle that if a mother genuinely loves her children, why would she speak unkindly about them?

    We can learn to suspend our judgment and truly listen to the merits of what others are saying in an unbiased way. It is like the instructions a judge gives a jury.

    “It is important that you keep an open mind throughout this trial. Do not form or express an opinion about this case while the trial is going on. You must not decide on the verdict until after you have heard all the evidence and have discussed thoroughly with your fellow jurors in your deliberations.
    You must decide what the facts are in this case. Your verdict must be based only on the evidence that you hear or see in this courtroom. Do not let bias, sympathy, prejudice or public opinion influence your verdict.”

    We are entitled to our own opinions and emotions. However, when others are talking we are tempted to react. Actually, what is required for good listening is to temporarily put our own feelings and opinions aside in service to the other person.

    At the end, what we need is humility.

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  2. I cannot change the past, and perhaps with God’s mercy I will rejoin my children in heaven someday, but for now I ask God everyday why was I ever created Transgender. Despite how much others judge and hate me because of the lies in some postings, they will never hate me more than I hate myself. Pray that God is merciful and let’s me die.

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    1. Mercy ALWAYS triumphs over judgement, there are no exceptions to this. As a parent there is nothing my children could do that would take away my love for them and my desire to be with them, to know them, to share life with them, delight in them. God is a far better parent than I will ever be, and you are still his child, always his child, and He delights in you.
      I understand self-loathing, my god I understand it. No matter how different our circumstances, regret and shame and self-loathing are still the same human emotions that seek to destroy our hearts, and I pray both of us find freedom from our pain.
      Your heart is still you, and God knows that heart and loves that heart. The rest of the world may condemn you, you may condemn yourself, but God does not condemn. He knows you and understands you better than you could possibly imagine. This world is tough, and we struggle and we are human and messy and don’t always do it right. But we are still loved. Always loved. We just need to believe it.

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