“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
— Thomas Merton (1915–1968)
There are so many outer vestiges that we, as people, are judged on.
We are entrapped in a political game because of the make up of our sinful beings. To a very certain degree we make harsh statements of view. Our views come into our minds, yes, without even a thought. Suddenly we are thinking heinous thoughts, and none of us is saved, except the person—in the moment—who listens to God; who holds their thoughts to account.
Only with some God-cognisance do we stand even part of a chance of giving the next person a fair deal as far as our views of them are concerned. The classic irony is those far from God often see those close to God as those who are quick to judge and condemn. But, the person close to God cannot possibly be comfortable with judging and condemning. They are averse to such a soul-reviling practice.
A soul’s true identity comes from the fabric of its innermost drive.
What motivates a soul is how it’s to be judged.
But this is not how the world defines a soul. The world defines souls through veneers of visibility—through what it sees. And the world’s sight is characteristically fickle.
I have a tattoo, and, because of the nature of the tattoo, and its placement or my body, I am often self-conscious in public when I wear clothing that reveals it. I fear that people are judging me somehow, but then I remind myself not to be bothered. But it is a good illustration of the sort of attention that is drawn to us in being on display, as people see us. We are more self-conscious than we ought to be.
People rarely see the soul—the fabric of the innermost being.
Are we like that? Or, are we constantly reminding ourselves—beyond the sinner inside us that thinks instinctively in sinful ways—of the beauty resplendent in the person before us?
The opportunity we have is to redefine our perceptions of the person before us.
Let them stand before us as a person in their own right, based upon what drives them; according to their values and what they live for.
Let us pity people not for their culture, or their upbringing, or even their chequered pasts, but let us pity people who cannot muster the courage to live as God has called them to live.
Let us pray, whomever we come across, that they will have the inner pluck to go forth into the vision God has placed in their heart; to live faithfully according to the drive central and throbbing within them.
A soul’s innermost identity is defined by what he or she does; by what motivates them to do what they do.
Let’s celebrate with the person, whose courage defines them, in that they live precisely the life God has called them from the beginning to live. They have respected their soul’s innermost identity and we ought to, too.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.