Shame and grace

Why do we look down on people trying to get better? I sense this attitude all around me, and truth be told, I’m not immune to it. We all do it sometimes, and it should be to our shame.

If you don’t believe me, turn on your TV. You’ll find shows such as My 600-lb. Life, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Naked and Afraid, Dr. Phil, Worst Cooks in America. Every one of these people has a problem they need or want to fix. The producers create drama around the possibility of failure, and that’s why we watch.

Or go to your gym and pay attention to what’s going on around you. There’s always someone grumbling about the person who doesn’t look fit taking “their” space on XYZ machine. Or whose pushups look ridiculous. Or who can’t lift more than ten pounds. (Don’t believe me? Read my post, The right to remain silent.)

People are afraid to tell their bosses they’re seeing a therapist to improve their mental health, so they explain their absence as a doctor’s appointment.

Our kids make fun of fellow students who need help outside class.

We outwardly cheer adults who pursue their GEDs, but we inwardly categorize them as less for not having gotten a high school diploma in the first place.

We shake our heads in disgust as people line up outside clinics for their methadone treatments.

If you can’t see yourself in any of these examples, good for you. May I suggest, however, that you take off your blinders? We’ve all looked down on someone for something, and it’s especially shameful when it involves an issue that person is trying to resolve.

Maybe this is why I don’t like to do things when I’m not absolutely positive I’ll succeed. Judgement hurts.

What we need to remember is that these people showed up. They’re trying to get better.

What we need to remember is that we are “these people.”

Show “them” the grace you hope to receive.


Image courtesy of Blogtrepreneur, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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