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We All Have A Guilty Conscience

In Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and other Latin American countries, the expression "have a straw tail" is used figuratively to refer to a vulnerable person who has something to lose, be it fame, prestige, social position, or who has secrets that cannot be revealed to the public.

In the Bible, we find Jesus using the phrase, - which I am sure you know very well, - "he who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone." It happened when a group of elders and religious people presented him an adulterous woman judging and condemning her. However, with very few words, Jesus taught them a great lesson.

It appears that it is all too easy to find oneself in situations where we judge and criticize others daily. In doing so, we tend to overlook our faults while focusing on the flaws of others. We forget to show mercy, understanding, and empathy, and instead become rigid in our views, condemning the mistakes of others and exposing their vulnerabilities.

  • Mercy is the kind and benevolent treatment of others. It is different from pity.

  • Clemency is moderation when applying justice. The one who has mercy has compassion for the other and feels empathy when applying that justice.

  • Empathy is walking in another person's shoes. It is understanding in the best possible way and from our limitations what our neighbor feels. The empathetic person is able to understand the emotions and feelings of others, which allows them to be supportive.

Why do we judge lightly?

We all have a guilty conscience

Because we believe we are fair, correct, or blameless. Consequently, we feel entitled to judge and criticize. Forgetting that we all have straw tails. What happens to the straw when it approaches the fire? It burns.

Furthermore, criticizing or judging others is a clear sign that something is wrong with ourselves and demonstrates the following including:

  • Insecurity and lack of self-esteem: Criticizing others can be a way of trying to feel better about yourself.

  • Ignorance or lack of understanding: Not understanding or knowing enough about another person's situation or circumstances can lead to erroneous judgments.

  • Prejudices and stereotypes: Judging someone based on her membership in a group or categorization rather than her individuality.

  • Envy or resentment: Feeling jealous or resentful of another person's success or achievements can lead to criticism.

  • Fear and anxiety: Fear of the unknown or what is not understood can manifest as criticism or judgment.

  • Social pressure and conformity: Conforming to the norms or expectations of a group or society can lead to criticizing those who do not fit in.

It is important to recognize these signs and strive for empathy and understanding to overcome criticism, and easy judgment and remember that we all have straw tails because:

  • We are not perfect: No one is free from sin, so we have no right to judge others when we have made mistakes.

  • We don't know the whole context: We often don't know the whole story behind someone's actions, so we can't fully understand their situation.

  • We can be hypocrites: Criticizing others for things that we do or have done in the past is hypocrisy.

  • We can hurt others: Harsh criticism and judgment can hurt people and hurt their feelings.

  • We must treat others as we want to be treated: The golden rule is to treat others with the same kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves.

Everyone is responsible for their actions and we will all have to be held accountable. Not judging or criticizing others allows us to treat others with respect, empathy, and understanding, and prevents us from falling into hypocrisy and harming others. The invitation of this article is to correct ourselves, clearing our chaff to grow in mercy, clemency, and empathy.

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