“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”-1 These words seem to be aimed not just at the Biblical figures depicted, but at all of mankind, down to the present day. We, all of us, no one is exempt, have done so much wrong throughout our lives. Is this not true? And yet, we hide behind masks of our creation-2. We put up false fronts so that no one can see what we really are, who we really are. We are afraid that people might not like us, that people might avoid us, that people might even throw harsh words, like stones, at us. And so, we hide.

Keeping this thought before us, let us look at how we treat others. We expect, no, we demand that people behave in a strictly proper manner. Their actions, their way of living, must conform to our expectations. If they vary, even a little bit, then they can expect swift and harsh criticism from us.

Look at how we treat our leaders, be they politicians, or clergy, or our teachers. How do we treat our relatives, our neighbors? So what if they are human beings, just as we are. They are not allowed to stumble or trip. They MUST be perfect. They cannot have any lapse in judgment; they must not show any signs of weakness or they will surely incur the wrath of the populace (you and me).

But what high expectations do we have of ourselves? Surely we demand excellence of ourselves, as well.  Our personal code of honor must be off the charts. Right? Ehhh …not so!  You were rude to that person. “Well, she deserved it”. You spoke harshly to Harry and he was only trying to help you. “I don’t like the way he acts”. You purposely went out of your way to slander her. “She probably deserves it, the way she behaves”. You didn’t help that person who was ailing. “I didn’t have the time”. You took something that wasn’t yours. “They won’t miss it, they have plenty”. You should be home taking care of your father, your mother, or your children! “Hey, I need to have some fun time, too, don’t I?”

Don’t you see how we make excuses for ourselves?  No matter what the issue is, small or large, we will justify it, in our eyes. We can and will make it all sound so perfectly logical…to ourselves. So we continue to play our little game of hide and seek. Hide the truth about ourselves, but seek out the dirt in the lives of others. And yes, we do feel uncomfortable playing this game. We know deep down that we are only kidding ourselves, deluding ourselves into thinking that we are really ok. And then the horror strikes… What if someone realizes that I am a fraud, that I have the same frailties that everyone else has? What if they already know or suspect? We then go out of our way to put up that false front. Let them see only whatever good we have inside, or whatever good we would like to have. All the while, we make no changes to who we really are, but only polish up the outside, the viewable portion of our lives.

Having done that, we now can continue with our lives. We can now perfect our sharp tongue, our harsh criticisms, our flaunting of the things that we have and that others do not. These are the stones that we toss around. These are what seem to justify our existence. For a moment, think about yourself. Think about what actions you perform, what you do to others and how you are to others. It is time for you to reflect about yourself. Now is the perfect time to unclench your fists, allow those stones to fall from your hand. In so doing, you can now extend that same hand in friendship, true friendship. You have much to offer the world around you, but you must dig within to see yourself as you are and not as you want people to see you. Our actions to others, after all is said and done, reflect who we really are. Who are you?

1- John 8,7

2- “Masks, We Hide Behind”, TheSteppingStones.Wordpress.com