“It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.” ~Arnold Bennett
Jesus said (if you use a good translation), “Stop judging.” Some translations would say, “Do not judge.” But that doesn’t really capture the original Greek. The point is, you are already judging, so cut it out already. Your next thought may well be that this is not possible. If I don’t judge, how will I get through life? Won’t I get abused by the ne’er-do-wells? Even without that, don’t I have to judge whether or not that truck is going to stop before it gets to the crosswalk and mows me down?
A differentiation has to be made. We all see that there is a good side to judging. However we are also aware of the suffering that is caused by judgmentalism. What if we could break the two sides apart? That way we could have the benefits of judging without the downside. Is this even possible?
Yes. Consider the path that judgment takes. Let’s say you work in a grocery store and you see a coworker take a candy bar off the store shelf and slip it in his pocket. You have just learned some things about this person. They are willing to steal. They are willing to risk their job over a rather insignificant sum. They like sugar. These are all assessments. If we keep going, then it starts getting judge-y. They are a lowdown thief. They have no respect for our company. They are going to get fat. Finally, we get to the finish line. I hate thieves. I despise disrespectful people. I find gluttonous slobs to be pathetic.
While this is a multi-step process, the first part, assessment, takes most of the time involved. The judgment happens a split-second after the assessment. We just need to stop before that split second. It is useful to know that this person steals. That way you won’t leave any candy bars out in front of them to tempt them. It is good to know they are not exactly career-minded as you consider who to team with while pursuing your own career. And now you know what to get them for a simple gift should the need arise.
“Here’s how to judge without judging:” click to tweet
You are not in charge of judging anyone. You are no one’s master. This is no loss to you. In fact, you will find you like people better once you stop judging them. It seems Jesus was on to something.
Have you successfully stopped judging or are you struggling with it? Share your experiences by commenting below.
Photo credit: Bill Koplitz
4 thoughts on “Why Judgment Isn’t Working For You”
Society is very judgmental. It is tough to let it go personally when you are always being judged yourself by everyone else. I suppose someone has to lead the way though…
Judgment often results from “tit for tat”. You judge me so I judge you so you judge me. The one who breaks the cycle is the one who takes power.
Thank You so much for this. I totally agree. But what if it’s your family incorrectly judging you? And it’s literally destroying your life & inadvertently effecting the lives of your children? When doing the right thing seems like its making things even worse?
Being on the receiving end of judgment is difficult even when it is valid. How much more so when it is not. While I can’t comment on your specific situation without further details, there are some principles that apply:
1) You do not have to accept a false judgment. Observers (even children) will be strengthened by such resolve.
2) No one can destroy your life without your permission. Do not give that permission.
3) Events have effects. We are not qualified to judge the value of those events on others. It would be difficult to name a great man or woman who was not forged in adversity. Give others (especially children) the benefit of the doubt that they are more resilient than you might think.
4) Most important, do not allow others to set the rules of the game. Do not judge those who judge you. Many an opposer has been turned by the peace and certitude of one whom they first attacked but then came to respect.