"It's the truest word that ever was spoke," said Mrs. Dilber. "It's a judgement on him."
"I wish it was a little heavier one," replied the woman; "and it should have been, you may depend upon it, if I could have laid my hands on anything else. Open that bundle, old Joe, and let me know the value of it. Speak out plain. I'm not afraid to be the first, nor afraid for them to see it. We knew pretty well that we were helping ourselves, before we met here, I believe. It's no sin. Open the bundle, Joe."
Mrs. Dilber and her cohorts are some of the most unsavory characters in A Christmas Carol. They are people who have plundered Scrooge's body and death chamber for items to pawn for profit. They steal things like cufflinks and silk shirts and blankets and bed curtains. Scrooge was so cruel and stingy during his lifetime that Mrs. Dilber and company consider their theft "no sin" against him. They are his judges, his jury.
I like to judge people. It makes me feel morally superior to them. That doesn't make it right. In fact, I would say that judging people is one of the worst offenses one person can commit against another person. It's simply a way of building walls in your life, keeping others at arm's length. I do it. I would guess, unless you're someone like the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa, that you do it, too.
We judge people because of race or gender or sexual orientation. We judge people because of social station. Addiction. Mental illness. Weight. Age. We do it because it's easier than opening the door, letting the person in. We do it because we don't want to share our table with a drug addict or schizophrenic or prostitute. I think there was a guy who lived about 2000 years ago who broke bread with just this segment of society. Frequently.
This morning, I ran into an old friend. I hadn't seen her for close to five years. I used to be friends with both her and her ex-husband. Their divorce was bitter and nasty. I even got called as a character witness during the court proceedings. It was not pleasant being put in the middle of that mess.
I spoke with my old friend for close to twenty minutes this morning. We got caught up with each other's lives. She didn't even know I had a three-year-old son. I didn't know she was the superintendent of a local school district. As we were talking, I was remembering all the shit that came down during her divorce, all the judgement that was thrown back-and-forth. I got swept up in it, too.
This morning, I realized how stupid all that judgement was. My friend is a lovely person who had/has problems, just like the rest of us. I enjoyed seeing her. I enjoyed learning about her twin girls and new husband. I enjoyed hearing about her new job. I enjoyed realizing that she's a good person still.
Saint Marty is putting down his gavel and stepping down from the bench.
Confessions of Saint Marty