This week, Angi asked me to critique an essay she wrote for English. The assignment was for the student to write about themselves- to give a basic overview of who they were and what their interests and aspirations were. Unfortunately, I didn't see the email until it was too late for me to give any suggestions, but it was fascinating to see how Angi describes herself and what things she lists as her main interests and desires. A lot of it I knew or could have guessed, but there were definitely some things that surprised me.
It's gotten me thinking more about the walls, both intentional and unintentional, that we put up around ourselves, that we use to protect ourselves and isolate ourselves. I'm sure everyone has desires or concerns that they've never mentioned to anyone, and I'm sure that there are aspects of everyone's personalities that they classify differently than the people around them. A lot of people who label themselves as shy get labeled as snobby by others. I often get frustrated at work by all the stony faced people I walk past, but then I wonder how often I look like that when I'm just thinking about things or feeling tired.
I think this interest in how people see themselves as opposed to how the world sees them is part of why I am so fascinated by biographies. It's also part of why I keep coming back for more in my love-hate relationship with blogs. Some people are very closed on their blogs, and I can't say I blame them. I definitely try to keep a high level of restraint, being aware that anyone in the world could read what I'm putting out there. But at the same time, I appreciate people who open up on their blogs, because it's so interesting to read the stream-of-consciousness of people, some of whom I feel like I know well, and discover that there's a lot going on inside of them that I had no clue about.
People are so complex. I think this is the biggest reason that we are commanded to not judge unrighteously, and I think that failure to forget that people are complex is the biggest error that goes into unrighteous judgement. I think that the more we are willing to let down our walls and allow others to see us as we see ourselves- which is usually as decent people who may be struggling, but who still want to do the right thing- the less judging there will be going around. I think that has a lot to do with Christ's admonition to be one, even as He and the Father are one. They share everything with each other and do everything together in a common cause. Talk about good communication- I think that is the perfect example of it right there. So the closer we come to each other, the more we will understand each other, and the more Christlike we will be. And when all is said and done, being able to define oneself as Christlike is probably about the best self-definition there is.