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Life

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

Judgement is a natural reaction to discovering almost any piece of information. We all judge. We don’t do it consciously, though. It’s innate. It’s human nature. Most of us know it’s wrong, yet we can’t stop ourselves from doing it.

Not long ago I learned just how judgemental I was. During a pivotal moment in my life I looked around and realized there was no one around. I had pushed everyone away by judging them. I judged the entirety of a person’s worthiness based on one or two deeds I did not agree with, as if people don’t deserve second chances or should be damned for making a mistake or bad decision. This overwhelming sense of loneliness was oppressive. I had nowhere to go but my immediate family. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s a truly humbling realization.

I turned my gaze inward. I realized I was doing myself a disservice by pushing these people out of my life and not the other way around. Did I agree with the fact that a friend was cheating on his girlfriend? No, but that doesn’t mean I have to shut him out of my life. It didn’t mean that I could no longer be his friend. Did I agree with the fact that another friend slept around freely? No, but that doesn’t diminish who she is as a person. I am no saint. I’ve committed my fair share of sins. Who was I to be judging these people? Who was I to cast the first stone?

So we judge. Why are we all so unforgiving? Granted, there are certain things that shouldn’t be looked past, but judging a person based on one or two actions is like judging a book by its cover. The cover could be bland. The title could be unimpressive. But what if the story contained therein is simply phenomenal? What if award-winning literature is lurking inside those bound pages? By that same token, what if that guy who cheated on his girlfriend was suffering through a tumultuous time in his life and was emotionally unstable? What if, aside from that, he’s a great father, has a cunning sense of humor, and is a loyal friend? What if that girl who was sleeping around just needed to feel loved? What if, aside from that, she’s a very caring and compassionate soul who donates to charities, is there in every capacity for her friends, and whose stunning smile lights up an entire room? So what if those people live life differently than I would were I them? What they do is none of my business. Their actions weren’t affecting me anyhow.

Since I made this stunning self-diagnosis I’ve become a more accepting person. I’ve done some things in the past year that are completely out of character for me, but if people judged me solely based on those two or three things they’d never know who I really am. With that thought in mind, I’ve learned not to judge people on one or two mistakes or for simply living life differently than I would.

In addition to judging others, we fear being judged.

There have been a couple of moments in the past few months where friends were afraid to tell me about certain aspects of their past because of my feelings on certain topics. They knew they had done things in their past that conflicted with my beliefs. They were both afraid that if I discovered their secrets I would cease to be their friend. Perhaps that may have happened in the past, but not today. Those two friends eventually confided in me. One did so while daring me to leave her life. If I was going to do it, do it and get it over with. The other confessed while saying if you’re going to quit talking to me it may as well be today.

I was slightly offended by both statements, but the offense wore off quickly. After all, I did used to be that person. They judged me based on my potential judgement of them, which is really convoluted.

We’re afraid of what people will say or think about us if our dirty laundry is discovered. Should we even care what unforgiving people think of us? Should we even be friends with those who judge us so harshly? If someone wants to discount me because I’ve done things they disapprove of that’s their problem, not mine. If someone thinks less of me because I believe differently than they do, that’s their loss.

I realize that we’re not all going to get along, but we need to overcome our inherent need to judge people. There is always a reason behind one’s actions and often times we judge without even knowing what those reasons are. For example, let’s say you’re stopped at a four-way intersection and your light turns green. You’re about to proceed through the intersection when some guy blows right through the red light and almost side-swipes you. “What an asshole!” you’d surely think. What if I told you that guy is a doctor who was rushing to the hospital for an emergency surgery? Would you be so quick to judge then?

What I’m getting at is this: judge not lest ye be judged. Judging people is close-minded and hurtful. It’s counterproductive to a peaceful society. None of us are perfect. We all have flaws. We all believe different things. We all have our own style. Let’s celebrate those differences instead of using them as a means to divide society.

Do not judge others by your own standards, for...

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Discussion

57 thoughts on “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

  1. Good reminders, especially this time of year.

    Like

    Posted by NotAPunkRocker | December 6, 2013, 1:05 pm
  2. wonderful introspection !
    to breathe in awareness
    of our interconnection,
    liberating mind’s illusion
    of separation,
    cultivation wisdom of non discrimination
    offers moments of harmony
    in oneself and the world.

    Like

    Posted by smilecalm | December 6, 2013, 1:14 pm
  3. There is a leader in my Church that gave a talk a few months ago that said “don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.” I thought that was a great way to put it.

    Like

    Posted by Brother Jon | December 6, 2013, 1:39 pm
  4. I give this post a 9.7… ha… see what I did there?
    Also, you are guilty, and I sentence you to 10 years to life… of more blogging…
    And I voted for you for both American Idol and Miss Universe, but the other judges overruled me… I guess your version of Bad Company by Bad Company lacked vocal conviction, and you don’t look quite as good in a bathing suit as either of us thought. Sorry.

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | December 6, 2013, 1:41 pm
  5. Here comes the judge…

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | December 6, 2013, 1:41 pm
  6. Sometimes I feel like my entire life is a struggle not to judge others, which is odd because whenever I put my ego on the shelf and just forgive people, I feel so much better. Great post, TD.

    Like

    Posted by The Waiting | December 6, 2013, 2:12 pm
  7. TD, I drank all your coffeh. Don’t hate me cause I’m a coffeh thief.

    Like

    Posted by merbear74 | December 6, 2013, 2:19 pm
  8. Judging is not inherently wrong. Let’s look at the Bible passage you took your title from (Matthew 7:1-5):

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    There are two points. First, you will be judged by the same standard (measure) as you hold others to (i.e. don’t judge hypocritically). Obviously, judging hypocritically is a problem since (a) you’ve got a problem too and (b) the person you’re judging isn’t going to listen knowing that you’re a hypocrite. But that’s not a problem if you are calling someone out on something you aren’t doing (e.g. calling out the guy who cheated on his girlfriend when you’re not cheating on your girlfriend/spouse). Second, it’s more important to judge yourself (“the plank in your own eye”) than others because you are responsible for your own actions (and it’s very easy to deceive yourself so it’s harder to judge yourself anyway). But there’s nothing wrong with judging if you are doing it to try to help someone avoid sin and bad consequences — the point of judging is to help, not to make yourself think you’re “holier than thou”. If judging were inherently wrong then verse 5 wouldn’t say that you could clearly “remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (i.e. judge him) once you’ve removed the “plank in your own eye”.

    Also, the fact that someone is good in other ways in no way excuses their sins/faults. The guy who cheated on his girlfriend or the girl who sleeps around are both still wrong even if they also cured cancer. It’s still wrong to cheat on your girlfriend/wife or sleep around no matter what other good deeds you do.

    And, yes, I would judge the doctor running the red light because the situation would be much worse if he did side-swipe me — not only would (at least) two more people require medical attention, but the doctor would never get to the ER anyway and that patient would die, too. Again, good deeds/intentions are no excuse.

    Like

    Posted by Null | December 6, 2013, 2:28 pm
    • Oh, I get it. So if a person does anything we disagree with or find “sinful”, they should be avoided. Now we know to avoid you!

      Like

      Posted by aliceatwonderland | December 6, 2013, 2:50 pm
      • No, you don’t get it. I said nothing about avoiding people. I said it’s okay to judge someone as long as you don’t do it hypocritically and as long as you do it to help the person rather than make yourself feel “holier than thou”.

        Try not to get hung up on the word “sin”. I used it because “judge not lest ye be judged” comes from the Bible, which has a lot to say about sin.

        Let’s try an example. Suppose you have a friend who starts drinking a lot and becomes an alcoholic. Your friend loses his job because of his addiction, gets arrested for DUI, spends all his money on alcohol to the point he’s broke, etc. What would a friend do? Do you dare not judge him and instead tell him “It’s okay, you’re a loyal friend I’m sure you’re a good person.”? Or do you call him out (judge him) and tell him to get treatment for his addiction? If you judge him you’re doing it to help him avoid further bad consequences from his addiction. Of course, your friend won’t listen to you if you’re also an alcoholic, which is why the Bible says not to judge hypocritically.

        Like

        Posted by Null | December 6, 2013, 4:05 pm
    • Dude, you’re totally missing the spirit of the post. The point is just because someone makes mistakes (or sins) doesn’t mean you have to cut that person out of your life. To forgive people instead of casting them out or condemning them, which I’m sure there are also a few Bible verses about.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 6, 2013, 6:27 pm
      • I understand that your point is to forgive people rather than cut them out of your life, but you seem to think that judgment automatically implies refusing to forgive (e.g. you said “So we judge. Why are we all so unforgiving?”). But my point is that judging is not the same as refusing to forgive. Calling someone out on their mistakes is not a prideful judgment which implies cutting them out of your life — it’s a helpful form of judgment.

        Like

        Posted by Null | December 7, 2013, 10:22 pm
  9. Nice post, TD. I’m not touching the above argument. I’ve tried to be more forgiving here as well.

    Like

    Posted by BrainRants | December 6, 2013, 5:28 pm
  10. My immediate family is very judgemental. If I’m in an ornery mood, I’ll ask what it’s like to be seated at the right hand of God. I’m included in their judgement, and I try extra hard not to judge because of it.

    I’ve also been guilty of inviting people to leave my life. It usually happens when I start to care and I freak out. I’ll divulge a sin of the past and say they can leave.

    Post hits home.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | December 6, 2013, 6:54 pm
  11. Says the one who calls me a harsh task master. ;-)

    Like

    Posted by behindthemaskofabuse | December 6, 2013, 10:20 pm
  12. Love this post TD! I had the same awakening…thank goodness is all I can say. Oh, I am staying away from that comment above, because I know I don’t have the power to change other people (even though I really really want to)

    Like

    Posted by Life With The Top Down | December 7, 2013, 6:25 am
  13. Nice post TD, we also have to remember to not judge ourselves to hardly we have all made choices and decisions that weren’t necessarily what we normally we would do. We must learn from these mistakes and carry on. Not to wallow in them.

    Like

    Posted by overitblogdotcom | December 7, 2013, 6:40 am
  14. i don’t judge other people’s choices even if i don’t agree with them. i’ve learned that i’ve got enough of my own issues to focus on. we all walk our own path, right?

    Like

    Posted by icescreammama | December 7, 2013, 9:30 pm
  15. I am not sure that we can refrain from judging — I think it is in our nature. And there are things that are so deeply hurtful that we can’t overlook them. But we can learn to shut our mouths and then to forgive. So we need to have it both ways.

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | December 7, 2013, 10:24 pm
  16. I think you have a nice message behind your post. (I’ve had friends that have done things that clashed with my own set of morals and codes and it doesn’t exactly mean I’ve condoned their actions, but I too, have learned to empathize with the “why” they were doing it).

    Like

    Posted by whiteladyinthehood | December 8, 2013, 10:06 am
  17. Absolutely loved this post – what a brilliant message…

    Like

    Posted by suzie81 | December 8, 2013, 2:10 pm
  18. Perfectly said Twindaddy. We are sometimes too quick to judge without knowing anything about the situation and yet would be horrified if we were judged this way. Life lessons can be difficult sometimes.

    Like

    Posted by Daile | December 8, 2013, 8:21 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Eventually the bubble DOES burst | The Mana'o Blog - December 7, 2013

  2. Pingback: Know Before Judging | Simple Gypsies - December 9, 2013

  3. Pingback: Being yourself | stephcbrown - December 10, 2013

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