Do it just because it’s better to have done it

October 13, 2014

I was reading Father Rohr’s Daily Meditation, and I had a reaction to the idea he talked about and illustrated with a quotation of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel, about not judging and then not being judged, not condemning and then not be condemned, etc.

Father Rohr doesn’t seem to be saying we do these things in order to obtain them in return, so I am not criticizing what I read.

But it made me think that what I seem to learn from my own life is to do these things because it seems to be the better course — there seems to be less friction and more progress, but I don’t necessarily “get back” what I “give out.”

For me, this realization is important because I tend to get hung up on “What am I doing wrong?”  when the issue may well be a lesson in “You can do your part fine, but you don’t have control over how others do theirs, and all of you collectively may even do everything fine, but the situation may still come out in a way you don’t like.”  [There are other possible explanations, including that one is facilitating a problematic exchange between two other people, who without the facilitation would never have any exchange with each other at all.  And of course, sometimes the answer may very well be that I am doing something wrong — but just as one can be too thin or too rich, I have found that barking up the virtuous tree of self-correction isn’t helpful if it’s actually the wrong tree, if it’s really not about that — one can overdo self-correction, too.  A simplistic model — such as the answer is always self-correction — may well be inaccurate, as inaccurate as a model that it’s always somebody else’s fault.]

I think for me it’s a subset of faith, to do the not judging and the giving, etc., and to trust that that contributes to the greater good, even when the feedback is less than clear-cut.

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One Response to “Do it just because it’s better to have done it”

  1. Matthew Brooks Says:

    Hmm,

    The idea that one should not judge is also a judgment, implying that those who do so are in the wrong.

    Sometimes people need to hear the truth and that requires judgment (we’ve been down this road before); recognition/reflection is necessary for change, and when things are not working right change is required. Less friction isn’t necessarily a good thing; conflict often leads to resolution.

    I’d also say, regarding “judge not…”, I’m willing to be judged. My conscience is clear.

    I’m reminded of the opening scene of “A Serious Man” – “Nonsense, Velvel…Blessed is the Lord. Good riddance to evil”.

    If there’s a price to pay for doing the right thing and holding people to account, so be it. It’s worth it. The price for demurring is greater.


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