Think about the most basic or mundane activities of your life. These can include such endeavors as taking a shower, eating a turkey sandwich or walking around the block (or the acreage).
While the variables for each of these are somewhat limited, the manner in which we conduct them can be subject to unlimited modifications or interpretations. Those variations become more pronounced when we leave the pedestrian and consider the more unusual or profound.
Take for example the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, man has done comparatively little to profane its magnificence. As someone who has hiked to its bottom, I can attest to its size and variety of hues and textures. But if you ask me my feelings about the Grand Canyon, you’ll hear responses including massive, exquisite and evidence of God’s creation.
Ask fifty others and you’ll hear at least that many reactions, ranging from, “a big hole,” to “enormous,” to “spectacular,” and so on. The same disparity will be true of Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, New York City and the Palace at Versailles.
In most cases, our life’s journeys can and will impact our impressions. All of this is to say that no single opinion is right or wrong. If you try to persuade me that the horrible, unspeakable tragedies of Dachau or Auschwitz did not occur, we are likely to fight. But in most cases, your opinion or reactions are legitimately yours and not subject to scrutiny or evaluation.
Not being judgmental is tough but essential. We don’t completely know the lives or events of those who voice preferences or dislikes. Accordingly, we have no right to form conclusions about those feelings. Likewise, others have no legitimacy in passing judgment on our views or responses.
Quite a few years ago, we listened to a song that reminded us to walk a mile in the shoes of others. From a logical (and health) standpoint, that doesn’t sound realistic. Instead, a dedication to refraining from forming pronouncements will be advantageous for all concerned. Shalom.