As long as we judge people by what they do, how much money they have, how popular they are, their religious beliefs, their culture and what they look like, we are never going to get it right. Ever.
People are all the same. Everyone has darkness and everyone has light. Everyone is capable of the most horrendous or best actions, given the right circumstances. Everyone is beautiful to someone and ugly to others. That includes you. No group can ever be painted with a sweeping brush of all good or all bad.
People excuse the crimes of people of the same faith as they are. They tend not to report suspected child abuse if the family is wealthy . . . I mean what could be wrong when the child has nice clothes, a great house, and spending money? They don’t question the CEO like they do the janitor. Police don’t stop as many people driving nicer cars, unless they happen to be coloured, then of course you want to suspect the car is stolen. Kids from “nice families” aren’t kicked out of school quite as quickly and are often given breaks in court. WHY? Because we value the image of happiness and success and what we deem acceptable, over substance. WHO are we as human beings?
The questions I would ask are:
If we were all blind, is there anything about you worth noticing or knowing?
What do you do when you aren’t on stage or no-one is looking?
How many people have you used to get where you wanted to be? How damaged are they?
Who are you to your kids, your spouse, the janitor at your office, the sales clerk, or the bum on the street?
Have you ever spoke up in defense of another human being who was being bullied or harmed?
What do you stand for?
Are you truthful to yourself?
Who are you when you are not at church?
Do you have any limits concerning your own conduct?
Do your parents know you love them?
How do spend most of your time?
Who do you spend most of your time with?
If someone were to accuse you of being a Christian/Muslim/Hindu (insert your religion here) would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Under the worst of circumstances, what were you willing to do?
In the best of circumstances, what did you do with those opportunities?
Do your neighbours know your name?
When is the last time you thanked anyone for the things they do for you?
When you stand in front of a mirror naked, in your own skin, void of make-up and fancy clothes and jewels, does anyone know how beautiful you are? Do you know?
When is the last time you told anyone that you loved them, and meant it?
How many people have you deeply hurt or offended because you are insecure, hanging on to hate, or unable to forgive? What would you do if people could actually see all those things you have done on purpose, just to “get even?”
When is the last time you learned something new? How often does that happen?
If you found out today there absolutely was no afterlife, no God, no religious anything, what would you do differently?
What do you know about love or compassion? What role do they play in your life, if any?
When is the last time you apologized for something you said or did, and meant it?
What have you learned about other people that has inspired you?
Who inspires you?
What have you learned about life?
What one word describes your life?
Do you have any regrets?
What do you still hope to accomplish?
These are the things that tell me who a person is and whether or not they are someone of integrity, or not. Not many of these things are easily visible and none of them come in one clear package. Our bodies are the violins we have all been given to play. They come in different sizes and shapes and conditions. Our life experiences impact on our instruments. We cover them with cases, or cloths, or even paint them … but every instrument holds within it, music. Whether we ever hear that music depends on whether we invite one another to play. I have heard the most perfect violin offer nothing more than strained squawks and squeaks of some unrecognizable song … and I have heard the most battered and dirty violin produce music that has made me weep. When we leave this world we leave behind everything we now value, our money, our looks, our possessions, our status, our pew at church, our ethnicity . . . and all we take is the substance of who we are. Who are we? What lessons have we learned from our experiences? How did we act in life’s situations? How have we learned to love, ourselves and others … that is it.
Maybe one day we will find parents fretting over qualities for their children instead of what kind of designer clothes they are wearing, or whether the school they are attending sounds more prestigious than their neighbour’s kid. Maybe one day it will matter more that people actually do “Love One Another,” instead of worrying about their Sunday Clothes and how many bible verses they can recite. Maybe one day we will elect good men, instead of just someone that the morally bankrupt, socially elite, present to us as someone they have groomed for the job.
As long as we value/judge one another based on superficial things rather than real substance … that can never happen. How strange that we constantly ask, “What difference can one person make?” when everything comes down to each one person making the change within themselves. If each single person simply took responsibility for themselves, changed themselves, the world would be transformed. Could it be that simple??