Saturday, July 21, 2012

50 Shades of Judgment

Recently, I’ve been reading some blog posts, mostly by other Christian women about 50 Shades of Grey and the reasons for which people should not be reading it (nor exposing themselves to other sexually explicit material through books, movies, etc). The main reason is tied to the belief that it goes against God’s plan for marriage by glorifying pre-marital sex and raising the risk for marital dissatisfaction and infidelity.

After reading one such post, I had quite the string of comments brewing in my mind. I then made the mistake of reading the comments by readers, most of whom touted their opinions in an obviously disrespectful tone, placing the word Christian in quotation marks (an act I find remarkably offensive), and stating that anyone who read the books had basically committed adultery and was likely not involved in a healthy marriage.

Who do these women think they are? I was angry and offended, but I held my tongue and resisted the overwhelming urge to retaliate. Instead, I backed away from my computer and chose to reflect on my own feelings rather than unleash my disapproving views of theirs. I found that my choice brought me greater peace and satisfaction than anything I could have said to them.

I asked myself, Why do those views strike a nerve with me? Well, because as someone who has enjoyed books and movies with sexual content, I felt personally attacked and offended, as if the writers of these comments had reached through the screen, pointed their fingers in my face and shouted, “your marriage is doomed, you filth-watching non-Christian!”

Personally attacked. That’s the answer. I felt personally attacked. Why? Another’s belief that marriages like mine are doomed does not doom my marriage. Another’s belief that women like me are not real Christians does not make me any less of a Christian. Their realities are separate from mine. I’m the one who combined them.

These women didn’t offend me. I allowed myself to feel offended. My anger arose from a place of ego-induced pride, a desire to defend myself and my beliefs, to shout back at them, “My view is right and yours is wrong. You should believe what I believe!” Yikes. Isn’t that exactly what I hear them saying to me? Did I just judge them for judging me? How does that make me any different?

Actually, I am not different at all. I carry strong views and judgments of my own on this and other issues involving issues like lifestyle, parenting, marriage, politics. Other people would likely react to some of my opinions with the very same anger I feel rising in myself right now. Does that make me less entitled to my opinion? Does it make others less entitled to theirs? Isn’t it possible for us to have our own separate convictions? Isn’t it possible that we are all right in own realities?

I issue myself a silent warning.

Be careful when you say “don’t judge,” for you are judging as you say it. Nobody is entirely nonjudgmental. The less judgmental you are, the more harshly you judge the judgmental. Rare is a situation where a true moral high ground exists. Two people might disagree, but neither's view need be labeled "bad."

I close my computer screen. No response is necessary. I am at peace.

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