“These is so much bad in the best of us, And so much good in the worst of us, That it hardly behooves any of us To speak ill of the rest of us.”
This old saying contains a great deal of wholesome truth and advice. There is no greater and more general tendency on the part of human beings than to set oneself up as an infallible judge of other people. The criterion or standard measure by which we compare is our own little self. We do not seem to understand how unreliable and unfair this procedure is in judging our neighbour.
Everyone should realize, unless he is an unmitigated, conceited, and brainless snob, that he himself is not perfect, and that he has his own faults and failings. However, where the mistake is made by most of us in judging others is that we can explain, condone, and give extenuating circumstances for our own shortcomings, but, at the same time, we deny this prerogative to the ones who undergo our moral measuring.
It would very often happen, if time and trouble were taken for inquiry, that we would find out that, although appearances were against the one we feel like criticizing, his innermost motives were the best. We also might discover, and honestly confess it to our own shame, that his plight is such that, if we were in the same predicament we ourselves would not be half so courageous, so fine, and so good as he is at heart.
So many people get so totally discouraged and disgusted on account of heartless, unnecessary, and uncalled-for criticism on the part of holier-than-thou hypocrites. What a happier and better world this would be if everybody would be readier to accuse himself and excuse the other. No matter how bad a fellow is, there is always some good in him, and no matter how good we think we are, if we are honest, we will find work to be done at home— detecting and purging out our own personal defects.