Rudeness is not Spiritual

In AA “judging” someone is euphemistically called “taking their inventory.” Sitting in a room, looking across from someone, taking in how they present themselves and listening to what they say (if they share) has led me to make many hasty and ill-informed judgements. If there is anything I have learned in my years, is that people have pasts that often contribute to who they are and what they do. It is impossible to know any of this without getting to know some details about the person. Many of my judgements have been way off base. Perhaps this is why we have all heard the admonition to “judge no one!”

Judgement at it’s worst makes many assumptions that turn out not to be true. Often difficult people have had horrible experiences that have contributed to making them the way they are or behave. Worst of all, most difficult people have no clue they are being that way.  That is part of what makes them difficult.

Is it any surprise that compassion is a value that crosses many religious disciplines? Compassion may be the most spiritual of all the virtues.

That being said, for many years I would find myself conflicted trying not to be irritated and judgmental about people who were rude and inconsiderate. These were people who showed up late, talked to others during the meeting, played with their smartphone while people where sharing, or let their phone ring during the meeting,  For me the most rude and troubling is someone who arrives late, insists on sharing rather than passing (or worse raised their hand), only to to then leave early completing disrespecting the people who go their on time and sat through the whole meeting.

“Should I be more compassionate here,” I would ask myself? Is there something wrong with me? After all, “whenever I am disturbed there is something wrong with me.”

Then one day it dawned on me that I had this all wrong! Unless the person is brand new to AA or doesn’t understand some basic rules of civility, they are being rude and inconsiderate. It is no deeper than that. Rude is rude no matter what you call it and there little to no judgement involved in recognizing rude behavior calling it out for what it is.

Incidentally the root of most rude behavior is self-centeredness and a lack of consideration toward others. Perhaps our old friend the spiritual principal of compassion needs to come into play.

Doesn’t being considerate and kind seems far more spiritual than being self-centered and rude?

It does because it is. Rudeness is not spiritual.

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