Character vs. Circumstances

It is really too bad that, while we recognize lapses in judgment or steadfastness in ourselves as merely circumstantial, we quickly assume similar lapses in others as character flaws.

Turn that around and you’ll understand why I stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing critiques for my new writing group. They don’t know me, so protestations about busyness are (at this point) excuses and not reasons.

I know how harshly I would want to judge them (Transform my gracelessness, Lord), and can’t bear my own censure– so I work late, uh, early.

The point of these meetings is feedback and interaction. If I can’t expect that of myself, how can I expect it of them?

This entry was posted in Writing.

4 thoughts on “Character vs. Circumstances

  1. And it bothers me, b/c we’re supposed to “love [others] as you love yourself.” I appreciate how neatly C.S. Lewis defined this, through starting with our view of ourselves.

    Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently “Love your neighbor” does not mean “feel fond of him” or “find him attractive.”

    Isn’t it true that we can look upon some of the things we have done with great distaste—even loathing—yet still love ourselves and want the best for ourselves? In fact, one of the reasons why we hate the things we have done is because we love the person who did them. We are sorry that that person, namely ourselves, got into the position of doing those things which we regret.

    …we must be sorry that other people do the things that they shouldn’t, towards us or towards others.

    He goes on to say we’ll know our attitude is on the right track if we’re relived when we find we were mistaken about the bad things we thought they did.

    This, I guess, is my difficulty: I want to treat others the way I want to be treated (with grace and understanding), but so far I’m acting as I must to avoid my own gracelessness, because I know how strong that could be, and I don’t want it directed at me.

    It’s like trying to keep two cultures happy at once: it’s not impossible (since I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive), but it requires a coherent awareness that is harder on 4.5 hours of sleep.

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