Guilt by association has always been a bit confusing to me. At the root of the idea, we are judged by those we hang around. In some situations, I have to agree with this. If like attracts like, then it only makes sense; we embrace the ideas of those with whom we choose to spend our lives. It might even be assumed we embrace the opinions of those we choose to converse with regularly. Since like does attract like we are usually pretty correct in our thinking when associating someone’s ideas with those they continually connect.
Sometimes we are subject to other’s life choices even though we disagree with them. When the guilty flag gets attached to our behind because of the choices of loved ones, their actions, or behavior, life becomes unfair. Whatever a person’s choices are, they can unfairly become our problem when others view them as wrong, but we suffer the consequences.
There can be times when those we love make decisions we can’t possibly agree with, but we love the person just the same. Outsiders might not look at this the same way. They see our continued love as meaning we support all of their ideas and actions. This can be a far cry from the truth. It is entirely possible to love people but not agree with or love their actions. We can even separate our lives from that part of their life or even most of their life. Whatever our personal choice is would be totally up to our discretion.
Being deemed guilty by association is fair when we participate in discretionary deeds or partake of the same ideas. If we are not involved, then the deeds, thoughts, ideas, and choices belong to the one making them. Sometimes it takes a drastic step away not to be associated with another’s actions, and sometimes we leave their lives altogether. It’s a matter of the degree of the issue. If someone’s actions or ideas grossly violate our own ethical, moral standards and boundaries, then a life disconnect might be the only move to make.
Sometimes I speak from experience, and other times I speak from merely the knowledge I have gleaned from. In this case, I speak from experience. I know what it is like to have my life torn apart because of the actions of others. Who can stop the flying judgment arrows when someone close to us makes a very discretionary choice?
I have suffered my degree of humiliation and have even had to lose almost everything I worked hard for because of someone’s actions in my life. I had no control of their actions, and I had no control of other’s responses. Unfortunately, I had no control of my losses either. My experience still hurts to this day. Others’ judging hearts caused so many losses in my life that I left everything in my life behind me. I moved, and I moved on. Moving does not change the events or even the painful part. The hard part is when the judgment comes from those we would expect it should not.
Thank God I have my spiritual support from God. I would not have survived the slow bleeding in my life that went on for years, not months or days, years. There has been a long road, and over 2000 miles traveled toward a way to find healing. I’m still not there yet. The slower the bleed, the longer it takes to heal; apparently.
Loving you from here,
Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry, Ph.D.