Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bad Vibrations

If you are a fallible human being (to quote C.S. Lewis, "If there are any exceptions among you, I apologize to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left...") you have probably had to deal with a rather nasty thing in yourself--judging. The word "prejudice" literally means previous judging. As if we were judges who decided the sentence of a prisoner before they even got into court. 

Some people seem born with a sweet temperament. Like Jane Bennet they "take the good of every body's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad." Infuriating to the rest of us who struggle daily with preconceived notions which, if we were truly generous, would never spring to mind. I know some wonderful people who can walk right up to a stranger whom I would deem completely unapproachable, for one reason or other, and start a conversation, coming away with a glowing impression of said stranger. 

I believe in "bad vibes". You know, when you look at a person and immediately sense that there is something a little wrong with them, then this is later proved by fact. I have known quite a few people who have given me a negative first impression and then they continued to act exactly as I surmised they would. Perhaps you have had experiences like this, and are now apt to take every new person you meet with a grain of salt. They're just like so-and-so, I just know it. Despite the fact that all you've really observed about them is their nervous giggle and nail-biting habit. 

A book's cover can tell you a lot about its content, and I admit that I've judged more than one this way. I won't even pick it up if the title is written in Papyrus font (and I'm not the only one with this bias, for your information). However, I believe that more often than not people will surprise you. You can see it even here, on Blogger, when you look through peoples' profiles. Some profile pictures immediately evoke images of a quiet, musical soul who is interested in Tolstoy. Then you click on their blog and find it dark, disturbed, and covered with pictures of punk rock bands. So much for judging a blog by its profile pic.

I am here to challenge you to challenge yourself today and in the week to come--the next time someone strikes you as not your type (geeky, puritanical, girly, juvenile, boring, etc.), try pushing that first impression to the back of your mind. Act like Jesus did, associating with people so unlike him as to evoke public critique. "Judge not, that you be not judged." Maybe you can't help making unconscious pre-judgments automatically, but try not to act on those judgments. WWJD? Give people the chance to prove themselves. We may not have the power to know the hearts of men, but we can try to find out what they are really like.

Tata for now,
Abby Rogers

originally uploaded by karola riegler photography. 

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