Saturday, March 8, 2014

Luke 6:37 isn’t a joke!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Mar 2014

We all have heard about Newton getting the idea of gravity with an apple hitting his head. I’m pretty sure this was not the case when Jesus made this famous statement which is captured by Luke which states, “Do not judge and you will not be judged”. He knew how important this was then and how much more it will be even after 2000 plus years. If it was Jesus Himself who addressed a crowd during a wedding ceremony this will definitely be one of His key talking points.
 
In the most critical moment of the solemn ceremony of wedding, the bride and groom with utmost seriousness recite their wedding vows. They try to understand that and implement the meaning of it together in their life ahead. At times they forget some of these vows and that’s when we see conflicts in our families. Quite often what is even more serious is the fact that the people who stand around the bride and groom do not realize they too have an important role to play in the couple’s life by not judging either of them.
 
It is quite natural for people to have expectations. We see that all around us right from our childhood. Be it the parents, siblings, religious leaders, managers or peer group, expectations have become a part of our life and there are times we struggle to meet them. Some of these expectations are realistic, but others are not. When the expectations are not met there are various levels of disappointments that you’ll face. The people who set them may react in a strong fashion. You being the victim may get affected badly with the reaction.
You see such incidents happening around you in your families as well. More often it is the bride who takes the brunt of these judgments than the groom. In the unfortunate incident of an expectation not met due to the preset standards of a family, people get disappointed quite quickly. They conveniently take these disappointments as an opportunity to judge the other. They are quick to label them and place them in a category that seems to be etched for life. The one who is judged too quickly find this quite unfair but may not be in a position to correct the other and accept it as a way of life.
 
The situation becomes even worse when the new couple start with their family visits to the near and dear ones. Over there they are welcomed with a smile which most often is accompanied by pairs of eyes which start watching every move of the new member to the family. These relatives give themselves the unofficial position of judging the match that was made in heaven. Things get further complicated with the seemingly innocent comments they pass about the new pair based on the judgments they arrive at. What they don’t realize quite often is the impact these comments have on the young couple who is just settling into their life.
 
Imagine you end up at a house in China where they have prepared a delicious dinner for you. Since you are a very special visitor from India they have served you one of their delicacies, an exotic dish made from snakes! You are one who will run, when someone even mentions about a reptile. You’ll thoroughly disappoint your host if you don’t join them for the dinner. What will be your reaction if your host family judges you as anti-Chinese? You know for a fact that it is not your mistake, yet you’ll be blamed for not partaking in the family’s tradition.
 
Now bring the same situation to a bride in her new family. You, being her new set of relatives, are the ‘host’ for her. For all practical purpose you are total strangers in the initial few days of life. If you approach her with all the expectations of the family, how different are you from the Chinese host who served the snake dish to you?
 
Let us keep our minds open and welcome the new ones in our families without any prejudice. Be patient and try to learn about them before even setting any expectation. Remember you have seen your son/daughter grow and that’s why you expect from them. This is not the case with their better halves. You start seeing them only when they join your family. So learn not to be judgmental. 
May God help you kill the judge within you!

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