Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged
When I was about twenty years old, I came to believe in the concept of “love at first sight.” I met Carol Martin at an “Encounter with Christ” weekend for young adults. Before you could bat an eye, I thought I met my Soul-mate without even understanding the full meaning of the phrase. When I was with Carol, I felt whole. We were comparable in all the areas that counted (like religion, morals, and humor), we complimented each other’s strengths (arts versus science), and we listened to each other’s point of view and accepted opinions without judgment. Whether you believe in this phenomenon or not, I am sure that on a lesser scale, you have met someone that you immediately liked or disliked without exchanging a simple “How do you do?” The hair on the back of your neck stood up: giving you Goosebumps because of an attraction or because you felt like you just met a “used car salesman.” And no, I don’t have anything against used car salesmen – it’s just an expression. What is it about these people? Is it a sixth sense, an aura they put out, or something else? Whatever you call it, emotions can run rampant. Let’s contemplate an atypical theory…
Thought processes are a compilation of various stimuli such as: people who influence us (parents, other relatives, and friends); education or knowledge-base (teachers); and life experiences or events. In a relatively short amount of time, it is natural to develop opinions over a multiple array of topics (and everybody has the right to their own opinions – no matter how wrong they might be). These judgments can create a range of feelings depending on the severity of an event. The more passionate the reaction, the greater the illusion becomes associated with a person or experience. Now consider that this picture in our mind’s eye is a reflection of one’s self. The Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung once said: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.” I believe this is true for anything that stirs up an emotion (positive or negative) within us.
I remember once, my mother called me “judgmental.” My initial response was: “Ah, Hello Kettle” (as in the pot calling the kettle black). Inasmuch of itself, this was a judgmental retort. I had to take a closer look and reconsider her accusation. Guess what… She was correct. Without giving it too much thought or in an attempt to empathize with someone, I try to put myself into a position (thought process) that I know very little, if nothing, about. Remember that a hypocritical judgment is judging something for something of that you are also guilty.
It is true that you really don’t know a person until you can walk a mile in their shoes. How can anyone understand the atrocities of the Holocaust or slavery without being a survivor of those experiences? Can a man appreciate the pain of childbirth? (Does passing a kidney stone even come close?) The best we can do is to compare a similar occurrence but is that enough?
Look up the word “discernment.” If you have a word processor, type the word then right-click on the word. A synonym for discernment is judgment. To discern is to: distinguish, differentiate, separate, or recognize. When we stop judging and learn to discern, we will increase our ability to observe and face reality. There is truth in what is real. Even if we are looking in the mirror, we can accept reality for what it is (a present moment in time). This reality is not a life sentence. It is probably not a thyroid problem or that you are thick-boned. If you gained a little weight, you can move forward by learning how to cook healthier meals, practice portion control, and/or exercise. You may never be a Jennifer Lopez or have the body of Arnold Schwarzenegger but you can lose weight. You may be a cancer survivor and lost all your hair in the process. The point is, you survived the process. And, much more importantly, you are a child of GOD and are unconditionally Loved!
One last observation! It seems that any somewhat intelligent human being can solve anyone else’s problems. Yet, many have troubles solving their own. The basic reason is because without emotional baggage, we can think rationally and calmly. After all, how often has some well-intended person given you advice? Something you might want to consider is listening to your own advice. Take yourself out of the equation and ask yourself what you would tell a total stranger. In fact, I challenge you to think about the advice you gave to the last five people (whether they asked for it or not). Does any of it ring true in your ear?
Reflect: MATTHEW 7:1-5:
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”