“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 disrepectful 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