Tuesday, March 12, 2013


In the story "The Last Judgment" by the Czech writer Karel Capek, the soul of a brutal murderer is brought to the judgment bar of heaven. Three bored judges try his case. They call a witness to testify, "an extraordinary gentleman, stately, bearded, and clothed in a blue robe strewn with golden stars". It turns out that this is the only witness needed because he is "the Ominscient God." The defendant is warned not to interrupt the witness because "He knows everythong, so there's no use denying anything." The witness verifies that the defendant committed atrocities, but tells more. As a child, he loved his mother dearly, but was unable to show it. At six, he lost his only toy, a precious colored marble-glass marble and he cried. At seven, he stole a rose he could give it to a little girl, who grew up and rejected him to marry a rich man. Homeless as a youngster, he had shared his food with other vagrants. "He was generous and often helpful. He was kind to women, gentle with animals, and kept his word."
Nevertheless, as expected, the hudges condemn the defendant to everlasting punishment. At one point the defendant asks God, "Why don't You Yourself do the judging?" God replies, "Because I know everything. If the judges knew everything, absolutely everything, they couldn't judge, either: they would understand everything, and their hearts would ache... I know everything about you. Everything. And that's why I cannot judge you."
To me, this story illustrates that the more I understand about you, the more tender I feel toward you and the less inclined I am to rule on your worth as a human being. The less I understand, the more likely I am to see you as a "thing" to be judged, manipulated, and dismissed.

Source: Stephen R Covey "The 3rd Alternative"

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