I had a friend call me today with news of a recent decision that left some tongues wagging. “People don’t understand,” she said. “No, they don’t,” I said. “But I knew I’d be safe with you,” she replied. I told her to tell the busybodies that what she does with her life is none of their damn business. She laughed and confessed that often times she was too nice for her own good.
I’m not writing this to declare what a wonderful confidant I am…I haven’t always been a safe person. If she had told me her decision 20 years ago, I very likely would have been one of the wagging tongues. (And no, this gal wasn’t planning something immoral or illegal.)
The more I am freed from the shackles of religions, the less compelled I am to share my opinion (read: judgment) with others on how they are living their life or the decisions they’ve made. I still have plenty of opinions. But when I start opening my big trap and offering them my opinions, I change the nature of our relationship from that of friends to an interaction between a judge and the judged.
It doesn’t work relationally. It just doesn’t.
The more I step back from playing judge and jury with people, the more I am free to accept people where they’re at and I hope….just love them.
The times when folks DO ask for my opinion, I will offer it. But with the preface that it is my opinion.
On the flip side, my good friend Joanne once threatened to “come over and bitch slap” me if I didn’t get my attitude out of a free fall. (I didn’t understand exactly what a “bitch slap” was but I complied out of sheer terror.)
She’s earned the right to speak to me like that because we are both invested in our friendship. Not because we’re not co- participants of the latest Beth Moore Bible study and we’re helping each other toe the line but because we love each other. It’s got to come back to love.