A look at Non-judgment and Compassion

Some time ago on Facebook my attention was brought to something happening in this small town I live in. A woman who said she was pregnant was asking for money in front of the grocery store. The response was mind-boggling to me. For every comment on Facebook, that was compassionate there were five that were aghast! “Oh, no, what will we do about this awful blight that has come to our town” was the general theme and I thought of Chicken Little shouting “The sky is falling.”  And I wondered what has happened to non-judgment and compassion.

Non-judgment and Compassion?

The lady was asking for money. She said she was pregnant. That’s all we really know. Some of the comments were:

  • She’s a scam and here to take our money.
  • Why doesn’t she get a job?
  • I went into the store and got her a job application and handed it to her.
  • If you give her money she’ll just buy drugs and alcohol.
  • Give her a gift card to the store so she can buy groceries.
  • DON’T give her a gift card to the store because the store also sells alcohol and she’ll buy it.
  • She must not belong here. She probably came here just to rip us off.
  • People like her stand on the streets in (another town nearby) and collect thousands of dollars.
  • We don’t need people like her here.

This is the gist of it. Some of the comments were meaner.

Other, nicer comments

A few comments asked, “Why do you think she was here to rip us off? Maybe she just needed help.” “I would have helped her.”  These comments were few.

To the town’s credit, the dialog seems to have been removed from its Facebook page because I went back to re-read it and can’t find it. I’m  really glad it’s gone.

It made my heart hurt.

My mind raced to these questions:

  • Was she really a scam?
  • If she was a scammer wasn’t she still in trouble?
  • What if she was NOT a scam?
  • What if she didn’t have enough to eat and she was concerned about her unborn baby?
  • Did anyone take the time to ask her questions and find out what was really going on?
  •  What happened to her? Did she get help?
  • Did anybody give a damn?
  • Is it possible that someone took her to the store and bought her a cup of coffee and a sandwich at the deli?
  • Did anyone try to get to know what was really going on with her and what she needed?
  • What’s wrong with this picture? Why did so many people react in such a negative way?
  • What has happened to the idea of non-judgment?
  • What has happened to compassion?

Compassion

com·pas·sion  k?m?paSH?n/ noun  “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

Compassion is advocated by every major religion and accepted and practiced by people who are not religious. Some of the most compassionate people I have met are not religions, but they ARE human.  Read the quotes below from the Pope, the Dalai Lama, a teacher/well-known writer and an atheist:

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

“Today I ask you in the name of Christ and the Church, never tire of being merciful.”
Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia

“We are all given a gift of existence and of being sentient beings, and I think true happiness lies in love and compassion.” – Adam Pascal, musician and actor

That should cover most of the bases.  Can we re-learn compassion? Please?

Non-Judgment

I’m not going to belabor it. We all know what it feels like to be judged unfairly. Let me simply leave you with a quote that asks a question?

“How would your life be different if…You stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…You look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.”
? Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

I always wonder, in such a situation, if we have been graced by an “Angel Unaware” and didn’t recognize her.

 

1 Comment
  1. Linda Todd says

    Love this post. It is something lacking now days in our country. A lack of understanding other people’s actions. Nine times out of ten, most do not care, they dwell on themselves too much without the compassion you are talking about. What if it were us, our child, our sister or anyone close to us? I am working on myself to stop and listen at what I see in front of me, with an open mind. Thank you for reminding me.

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