One of the problems with judging other people's actions and words is that we never truly know the back-story. And there always is a back-story.
Sometimes I cringe at the decisions of other people. I wonder why don't they just do such and such. It would be so simple and save a lot of grief. Later, I find out they are or were in an abusive relationship, they have cancer, they lost a child, they had a bad experience in a similar situation, they suffer from mental illness, they are overwhelmed with job, home, or school pressures. The list goes on.
I have that list in my life. I've had a difficult week, but it has been even more difficult because of my back-story. The decisions Hubby and I are making, and the way we handle things, are affected by influences that others wouldn't know.
All people are affected by their back-story. My kids make bad choices sometimes. Or they aren't using their decision making part of their brain and rage uncontrollably. Others may look at them with judgement, yet not understand that my kids have FASD, RAD, and have traumatic histories. They were not just disappointed that their birth dad left them this week without saying goodbye or keeping a promise to see Mr. I on his birthday. They are having to heal from his abandonment of them when they were preschoolers, and their birth mother's more recent rejection. Oh, and they have the confusion of living with people who are not related by blood, yet consider them family.
I also need to be mindful of the birth dad's back-story when I think about how he let my kids down. I don't know why he did that. But without knowing the birth dad's back-story, I really can't pass judgement on him. What he did was wrong, but it might make sense if I was able to look at the big picture. But I can't hang onto unforgiveness and anger, or think the worst of him. If I do, I will hurt my kids.
And the mom with the eight or nine year old girl who was smearing lipstick at the store? I judged her for not telling the girl to stop or paying for her destruction. But I do not know the back-story. Was the girl autistic or mentally ill? Was the mom in the middle of a divorce and exhausted? Was there something other than really bad parenting involved there? Maybe.
And just maybe there's more to people's story than I see at first glance.