I’m almost 100 percent certain he didn’t mean for it to come across the way it did…mainly because his comment appeared to have come from a total lack of any forethought whatsoever. It was thought-less of him to say.
And, I felt myself judging him. I literally (not figuratively, literally) said to myself, “What a stupid thing of him to say!”
Then, out of nowhere, some thoughts began to flood my mind. They were vivid memories of times from as far back as my boyhood to as recently as…well, much too recently, when I said or did something just as unthinkingly or maybe even just as hurtful. Perhaps the only difference is that while I’m still ashamed and embarrassed* by the realization of the hurt I caused, I don’t believe the young man is yet aware of his.
I do know that I immediately stopped judging him.
This does not mean that what he said was any less wrong or that he is any less responsible for his words and actions. Or, that I am any less responsible for mine. It just means that it’s part of the human condition that we probably all participate in at one time or another.
While we can learn from everyone (even by noticing their mistakes) we probably don’t need to judge them as much as we need to be consciously aware of what we ourselves say and do.
* Yes, I realize it does no good to continue to feel ashamed and embarrassed. We all have our mishegas to work through.