Tag Archives: judged

Family isn’t always blood

family isn't always blood

Friends are important to us. In cases like mine, they feel closer than family. In many of my posts I’ve mentioned how I’m not close to my extended family because they regard people based on how much money they have and for the longest time my family has been holding the last position on the ladder so needless to say we’ve always been treated like pariahs.

When I look at the things they have done, they feel somewhat petty, but it’s the implication of their actions that make it really painful. I remember this one time we attended a get-together party and one of my paternal granma’s sister was the one serving food. Somehow she managed to serve all the people sitted in the same table with my small sister and I but ignored us.

We didn’t want to create any commotion so we just let that one slide. It was awkward being sitted amidst people who were eating while we weren’t, but since we didn’t feel free around them (based on previous meetings) we kept mum, even though we were extremely famished after travelling for hours to get there.

Later on when everyone was leaving, she invited all of our cousins to go spend the night at her place but again, she failed to invite my sisters and me. It couldn’t have been a coincidence. Devastated, and feeling rejected we drove back home. After holding back tears the whole day, when we got home, mom, who hadn’t attended the get-together opened the door and I just broke down in her arms.

I was a teenager, an age someone might consider old; nonetheless, rejection hurts. Almost all family gatherings I can remember have always left me feeling rejected; and basic conversations are usually targeted at my family, degrading us, making us feel like we’re simply nothing.

Based on this very wanting relationship, I’ve always felt disconnected from my paternal relatives. The cousins I have are the very condescending type, who only focus on one’s lows; what one doesn’t have and those little blasts from the past that make one want to cringe. Someone might disregard their behaviour citing frivolity, but what hurts is that they’re mainly inspired by disdain.

If for instance I have a phone that seems really beautiful, someone will point out it’s nice, then add, “But it only costs…” So if I was really confident I have a nice phone, I will leave feeling like it’s just a cheap phone. Normally what bugs me isn’t the fact that they only see bad things, it’s why they do it. They do it to hurt; to scorn, and that’s what I always find trouble adjusting to. Most of the times I just ignore them but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

And just to prove the point, they will come with new phones the next time there’s a gathering. So basically at the end of the day our relationship with them feels like a competition. I must admit, I do feel envious of big happy families; families where people love without discriminating; where one isn’t hated or loved based on how much wealth they have.

Last weekend, my cousin invited family members to introduce her fiancé. We only live a few blocks apart, but my sisters and I weren’t invited (not that we would have gone anyway, because our encounters always end up badly). We didn’t even know there was any gathering until one of my mom’s sisters-in-law called her to tell her how it went.

Later, my cousin’s mom told mom that my cousin had only invited people who are close to her. That statement hurt for two main reasons: Firstly, we’ve never had any particular disagreement with her that would make us apparent enemies. If we’re not close it’s only because she has always felt her richer cousins were better.

Again, that sounds petty but her actions have never proven otherwise. Secondly, she got pregnant a few years ago and since most of my extended family members are the judgemental type, they shunned her as they didn’t want any embarrassments. At the time her own mom wanted her to get an abortion but because she wanted to keep the baby she was kicked out and we took her in.

The entire time she stayed at our place we were very close. When finally mom managed to talk to her mom, she went back home and even after she gave birth we were still close. When she gave birth, everyone fell in love with the baby and all those who had abandoned her came back. The instant they did, she pushed us-my sisters and I- away.

Everyone was invited for her daughter’s first birthday, except us. We felt used, and ever since, we’ve never been close again.

Owing to that strained relationship I have with the rest of my extended family, I feel closer to some of my friends. Though we’re not related by blood, I feel they are my family, because they don’t judge me and are always there when I need them.

‘Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.’ That’s a quote I heard some years ago and everytime I hear it I know just how true it is. My friends are my family.

 

How to deal with non-believers

united-seeing past differences

I’ve never understood why, but some Christians treat all non-believers like they’re sinners and will therefore go to hell. Well here are a few words of enlightenment: be wise in the way you act towards those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone (Colossians 4: 5-6).

Sometimes I come across Christians who say they are saved, but the things they do/say leave me with so many doubts about their salvation. In many of my posts, I’ve talked about the issue of judging others; acting all self-righteous and all. What makes me question someone’s idea of salvation is not because I feel I’m a better Christian, but because I wonder, if I wasn’t really a believer already, how many of the Christians I’ve met would convince me to give my life to Christ?

From what I have gathered over time, everyone has a justified reason as to why they do/don’t profess a certain faith. If someone is a non-believer, does that mean they will automatically be damned to hell on judgement day? Not really. In any case Jesus believed that some pagans are better than those who call themselves believers.

Some of us feel like they are warranted to condemn others because they are believers and in their eyes, those who don’t believe in God are sinners. According to many Bible verses, God hates self-righteousness. In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus told a parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else:

“Once there were two men who went up to the temple to pray: one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like the tax collector over there. I fast two days a week and give you a tenth of all my income.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his head to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’

I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who makes himself great will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be made great.”

So when a believer shouts, “You will go to hell!” to a non-believer, what does one suppose God thinks of that believer? It is not our place to condemn. Only an ignorant person would assume that all those who don’t believe in God will be damned.

In his letter to the Colossians 2: 16-19, Paul says, “So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon festival or the Sabbath. All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels.

For no reason at all, such a person is all puffed up by his human way of thinking and has stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body.”

Identifying ourselves as Christians, makes us believe we know exactly what’s wrong; who is right or not, but the truth is, only God knows who is guilty/innocent. If a believer assumes that a neighbour who doesn’t go to church has already booked a ticket to hell, then one ought to know that those we condemn might actually be the ones who are actually right in the eyes of God.

In Proverbs 16: 2, King Solomon says, “You may think everything you do is right, but the Lord judges your motives.” So it really doesn’t matter if one spends all their time in church praying, fasting and tithing religiously every month.

Jesus condemns hypocrisy. In Matthew 23: 23-27, He says, “How terrible of you teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give to God one tenth even of the seasoning herbs, such as mint, dill, and cumin, but you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the law, such as justice and mercy and honesty.

These you should practice without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain a fly out of your drink, but swallow a camel! How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness. Blind Pharisees!

Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too! How terrible for you, teachers of law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside. In the same way, on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.”

In very simple words, Jesus is the holiest man, who has ever walked this earth, yet He didn’t go around castigating those who didn’t believe in Him/His Father. He loved everyone, without discriminating and used the best examples to inspire love for His Father and not fear in people’s hearts. So if He didn’t despise, why should we?

If Jesus popped in on a conversation between you-a Christian-and a non-believer, would He be proud of you, or would He unleash the ‘hypocrite!’ admonishment on you? If you were a non-believer, would a Christian doing the things you do, both in public and in private, convince you to join the faith?

 

We are all sinners

do not judge2

Have you ever felt judged? Feeling as if you have been pushed to a corner, all fingers pointed at you. I can barely count the numbers of times I have felt judged. At the same time, I also know there are times I judge, so I put others in the same hurtful place; that same place I don’t like finding myself in.

Why is it so easy for someone to judge others, when they themselves don’t like being judged?

Human beings are so judgemental; that’s something I always feel when I look at the society we live in. It feels like we are so quick to pinpoint others’ wrongs. According to the Bible, this is what Jesus said about that issue. “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.

Why then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your eye? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please let me take that speck out of your eye’, when you have a log in your own eye? You hypocrite!

First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 1-5).

The mere fact that we are all human means we are all sinners. And when it comes to the business of wrong doing, no one is better than the other. It would be hypocritical for someone to feel they are lesser sinners, because that brings self-righteousness; a trait which is so destructive. It smothers love and care, so that people are only left nit-picking.

How will I love my neighbour, if I feel she is a prostitute; he’s gay; he is of a different heritage; he’s from a different religion; people from his community are terrorists…? There are so many tags we use to justify our hate towards others. What we need to realize is that the minute we start branding people, being critical of their behaviour, we diminish the chances for love to grow; and last I checked, where love is scarce, dreadful things happen.

Christianity as a religion is based on the birth and death of Jesus Christ; but the latter mainly. He suffered on the cross for us, and died so that mankind would be saved, from sin. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much He loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us. By His sacrificial death, we are now put right with God. (Romans 5: 6-9).

If we all were not sinners, why would God feel the need to sacrifice His only begotten son? When we read the Bible, we get an idea of what was actually done to Jesus during His passion, but when it’s broken down into precise details, it’s stupefying. The death of Christ was clearly beyond any human mind’s comprehension.

He was subjected to the ill-treatment of people who didn’t believe in Him; people who took His words for granted, mocking Him like He was just another mad man; people who treated Him like He was a sinner, yet He was the holiest of us all, and accused Him of blasphemy.

The way I see it, if Jesus accepted to die on the cross, because He knew what was coming to Him, it’s because He knew we needed to be saved. Why? Because we are all sinners! We may not all be thieves, rapists, murderers…etc. but we are sinners regardless.

Some of the wrongs we commit might not even be serious enough to be punishable by law, but whatever the wrong, we are sinners. And this is something we need to remember always before we go out acting like we are our brothers’ judges. If we think our brothers have specks in their eyes, then that’s nothing compared to the logs in our own eyes.

As a child I always heard that ‘if you draw the sword, you will die by the sword’. A deeper translation of that would be, we will suffer the same fate we condemn others to. With this in mind, we need to reflect on our actions as individuals, and imagine how it would be if we were judged the same way we judge others.

do not judge

Sometimes it’s not even about the things we do that are legally wrong, but about those small things we do that cause others so much misery. For instance, a young girl from a poor family marries into a rich family and when she is all rich she forgets her poor background, and when her own daughter is old enough to marry, she forbids her from marrying a poor guy.

That leaves me wondering, what would have happened had the rich guy, who married the poor girl, looked down on her because she was poor? Would that woman have become rich in the first place? Would she have the clout that gives her the courage to ask her daughter not to marry a poor man?

Walk a mile in someone’s shoes; that is the best way to understand what someone else is going through. When we imagine ourselves in other people’s situations, we will atleast get an inkling of how it feels to go through what they are going through; and when we understand that, we won’t judge as much/at all for that matter.

Women are gold diggers: part two

In my opinion, men are right when they say women are gold-diggers; but only to some extent. This said, I feel they make a grave mistake when they assume all women are gold-diggers. It’s extremely offensive when an honest woman is treated as one; as a gold digger.

Last month my sister was trying to find a company where she could intern. A friend of hers, who works in a bank, helped her secure a position in one of their branches. When my sister told him she had gotten the internship, he light-heartedly told her she owed him a few drinks.

Friday, that same week, he called her in the morning before she left for school asking her out later in the evening. They had never gone out before as he was engaged when they first met and was going to tie the knot in a few weeks; however he and his fiancée split up last year. Thrilled, my sister agreed to it, thinking he wanted to take her out as it was her birthday.”

When my sister came back home, she wouldn’t stop complaining how unchivalrous the guy had been. Apparently they had gone to two clubs and in both places she had paid for all their drinks.

“I know he had said I owed him a few drinks for helping me get the internship,” she complained, looking visibly disappointed, “but he asked me out. And this was our first time out together. He should at least have offered to go dutch.”

I tried pacifying her, even though I found myself lost for words. I was of the same opinion, that since he asked her out he should have paid for the drinks. I reasoned, if she had asked him out it would have been okay for her to foot the bill, but he asked her out; plus that was their first time out together.

Sometimes I like to think of myself as a little traditional. Maybe I’m wrong; but first impressions really matter. I have no issue paying bills or going dutch with a guy, just not on the first date. And if I do it, I would love to be the one who offers to pay half or all of it, and not because I was pushed to it.

“I’m never going out with him again,” she vowed. “He let me pay the bill, and he knew it was my birthday.”

I couldn’t blame her for her decision. If I was in her situation I wouldn’t either.

While they were talking about him getting her an internship, he told her teaching was his first love. Even though he worked in a bank, he worked part-time as a lecturer and would love to get a permanent teaching job. She asked him to apply for a job in the university she goes to.

After their night out, they rarely talk. Yesterday he sent her a copy of the CV he had sent to her school applying for a position as a lecturer. In the CV he had indicated how much he makes per month at the bank. He could be the next multi-millionaire in town for all I know; if he’s not one already. After getting over my shock, I started wondering why he would bother to send her a copy of his CV when there’s nothing she could do to help him get the job, as much as she wanted to return the favour. I just assumed he wanted to impress her with the money; anyone could be lured by that enormous figure. Maybe I was wrong.

He could be a generous guy, but the thought that he let my sister pay for their drinks on their first ‘date’ and on her birthday, had me thinking he’s just stingy. He had the chance to make a good first impression, but he blew it. In my opinion he broke at least all rules of dating etiquette. My sister already vowed to never go out with him, simply because she deduced he was ungallant; tight-fisted. If ever she went out with him again in future, it wouldn’t be for his charm but solely for the money.

Luckily for him, my sisters and I know in life there are things that are far more important than money. It may sound hypocritical to some, but truth is money is not everything. I know of guys who earn meagre wages but never miss the chance to treat a woman like a lady. Not all women are money-minded; chasing men only for their wealth. All they hope to get from a man are the small gestures, like him pulling out a sit for her, paying the bill-even if it’s only on the first date…

In short, not all women are gold diggers. In the process of trying to impress a woman with his wealth, a man could actually end up losing her because if she’s not after the money, that will be a real deal-breaker.

Women are gold diggers: part one

Women are gold diggers. That’s what many men seem to think nowadays. Are they right? Or it’s just a ploy to make women come off as unbelievably materialistic

Wikipedia defines gold digger as: slang for a greedy person (stereotypically a woman) who only dates (and subsequently marries) wealthy partners with the (typically) sole intention of exploiting said wealth. The term is usually pejorative.

I have this cousin, who I’d only seen once when I was five and never met again until I was a teenager; I wrote about our encounter in Belinda. When I first laid my eyes on her, she seemed to have a very soft demeanour, and was quite shy; she had trouble looking someone straight in the eyes. From what I gathered, that was her first time in the city as she and her family lived in a farm in the countryside.

When they visited, she was accompanied by her mom and elder brother; it was just a normal courtesy call. Two days later, when her mom and brother left for their home she was left behind. Her mom-my aunt-wanted mom to have her enrolled in a school as she had dropped out for lack of funds. Mom had refused because at the time we were also having some money issues; my aunt therefore, requested mom to find her a job then.

We knew it would be difficult to get her a decent job since she didn’t have papers; nonetheless, mom said she would try. Seven months down the line, mom hadn’t managed to find her a job. Afraid that my cousin would take more time before she found a job, mom called my aunt and suggested that my cousin go back home. Eventually she did.

During her stay with us, I realized she was somewhat introverted. At first I thought she was still feeling nervous around us-my sisters and I-since we were practically strangers but as weeks passed by, she didn’t seem to loosen up. If we were doing karaoke we would ask her to join in but she would diffidently refuse; she didn’t have the guts to stand in front of us. We would playfully drag her off the seat to come sing with us but she would giggle, covering her face with her hands. She really was shy.

As months passed by, it occurred to me, she wasn’t the demure lass we had all assumed her to be. For instance, she could actually sing. Once, I was walking to the kitchen when I heard her singing in the living room to Celine Dion’s songs. I treaded softly to the living room and found her singing blithely; she didn’t seem to have a care in the world.

“So you can sing?” I said, shocked and impressed at the same time.

She swung around swiftly, clearly stunned to find me standing there. Assuming her timid self, she plonked herself in the nearest couch. I thought maybe she was afraid of me or something, so I told her, “No, carry on. You really have a beautiful voice.” I made sure my voice came out soft, in case she was scared. She didn’t sing again that day though.

Weeks later, my big sister bumped into my ex. He wanted to see me, so she invited him over for lunch the next day. When my sister told me we would be having a guest I gave my cousin a brief explanation about who he was so she wouldn’t feel out of place when he came.

The following day my ex came, accompanied by one of his friends, who was also an acquaintance. My sister and I prepared the food and later set the table. When the four of us were sitted, my cousin showed up, dressed in a revealing top and fitting pants, and her face completely made up. Again, I was shocked, yet impressed at the same time.

Shocked, because she had actually done her own make up given that I was always the one who was doing it as she didn’t seem to know how and had never shown the interest to learn; and impressed because she had made the effort to look nice. She was a girl of many surprises. Those innocent acts convinced me she wasn’t as coy. I got the impression she had so much concealed beneath her introverted façade.

When she left, we didn’t keep in touch. I only heard she had found a job in the city. After that I only saw her once. Her mom had visited and she came to see her at our place. The next time I saw her was at grams’ funeral last October. She showed up with a very cute guy, who after much prodding, she introduced only as a friend. I had a few questions to ask about ‘her friend’ but I wasn’t in the mood for it.

This past Monday, mom called her mom to check up on her. While they were talking mom asked about my cousin. Turns out she’s looking for a rich man to marry. Mom asked my aunt about the ‘friend’ my cousin was with. My aunt just said my cousin didn’t want him because he wasn’t loaded.

Mom didn’t know what to reply to that. She only told my aunt, “Just tell her not to get anyone’s husband.”

So, if women are gold-diggers? Based on my cousin’s choice of men, I can’t refute the claims.