We all do stupid things that necessitate correction. It is only our pride refusing to learn from mistakes. Judgment on our actions is an opportunity for Mercy and Wisdom. To refuse correction of our missteps is to snub the compassion offered through forgiveness. And refusing that bestowed by others is minor compared to refusing to forgive yourself.
How should we handle judgment? It is never easy to receive criticism. The temptation to personalize negative remarks is more than most can bear. When it comes to handling judgment passed down by others, I have always been inspired by the ancient story of King David.
David the giant killer went on to kill many more people. We can argue if they were justified or not; yet even David knew he was guilty of murdering a loyal general. There came a time when his own flesh-and-blood led a coup to overthrow his dictatorship. Rather than fight his own son in the so-called “city of peace”, he chose to flee and consider his errors.
On his route from defeat, there was a man named Shimei who publicly cursed David. He called David a “bloody man” and condemned him as anything but “a man after God’s own heart.”
How did David respond?
The answer is what inspires me: David accepted responsibility for his actions. He did not blame any person or circumstance for the evil he was suffering. He submitted to the effects of those events he caused. He embraced the Chaos even though there was no immediate comfort.
In short: David accepted the verbal abuse of Shimei, recognizing how the Universe uses opponents of our peace to reveal the true contents of our heart.
As the story goes, David’s response enabled him to send his best friend back as the personal advisor of his son’s new government. The inside contact enabled eventual victory over the temporary setback. The key, however, was David’s ability to admit his faults and hear the truth interwoven between the accusations.
There will be many who rejoice in your sorrow. Let it be premature! The Wheel of Fortune will ensure the “Shimei’s” of life will be accountable for their own actions. Do not concern yourself with what Society thinks about your actions. Concentrate instead on what Spirit requires of you.
Your response to affliction is your testimony. It is your opportunity to grow beyond your error. In a real way, affliction purges you to a holiness unobtainable without its Chaos.
Like David, accept your part in your failure. It is the first step in handling judgment.