I happened to find this article a few days ago, and have been wanting to link to it and share a few words of my own. While obviously, I don't agree with everything the writer believes, she shares very beautifully a truth I haven't been able to word too well, and that is: having convictions about something, even strong convictions, isn't remotely related to finger-pointing, guilting, blaming, and sticking our noses into what others are doing.
She talks, specifically, about the privacy of a woman's womb and the decision of how many children one should have. It is, indeed, between husband, wife and the Almighty. I might have my convictions, but I would never dream of stepping up to someone I know, pointing my finger and asking, "and why aren't you having more children?"
I believe the same can be applied in other areas as well. A couple of days ago, someone told here on the blog that she feels guilty and judged for having a dishwasher, because of a discussion about conserving resources and being frugal. Ladies, I don't even know you personally! I don't know your families or your personal circumstances or, in fact, anything about you. And if I did, so what? Every day, I walk past houses which are nicer and bigger than ours, and it doesn't mean I think, "our neighbours probably have two cars and lots of brand new clothes - wasters!"
I might be supportive of living frugally, but it wouldn't occur to me to ask you, "why did you buy that car?"; I might believe breastfeeding is wonderful for mothers and babies, but I would never say, "you are a bad mother if you don't breastfeed". Your choices are so far beyond my field of competence that I'd rather not even dwell on them.
Living out what I believe in doesn't mean, to me, that I'm supposed to stand in judgment of fellow human beings. It means, largely, that I see how it can be applied to my own life. I'd rather concentrate on improving my own attitude than make the mistake of finger-pointing, while I ignore the log in my own eye. I will do my best not to cast judgment or offer unwanted advice.
I am not the Almighty, and it's crystal clear to me that we can never see the full picture of what others are doing. Therefore, we should be very, very careful before saying or even thinking anything negative. We just never know what injustice we might have done carelessly, and how damaging and painful it might be. Instead, we should act, above all, in love and with love guiding every step.
On another note, after spending a very pleasant and relaxing Rosh Hashana with family, we are finally back home, and there's a lot to do - so I'm about to get to work. How good it is to be home! All our things need to be unpacked, some items of clothing washed, bedding and towels changed, shopping list compiled, and there's also some cooking for Shabbat to do. And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll even have time to wash a couple of windows today.