A piece of contemporary, popular advice warns us against being judgmental of others. On the surface, this seems to be a good thing. However, broad, sweeping generalizations raise a large, flapping, red flag in my mind. This popular saying sometimes triggers me to judge and ponder the concept of judgment, itself.
It seems that the jury is still out regarding the topic of judging others. Ancient wisdom states that it is easy to judge rightly after we see what evil comes from judging wrongly. We are eager to judge so as to avoid being judged ourselves. Also, gods, goddesses, and deities throughout history have been said to exercise the power of judgment.
I posit that judgment is engrained into our psyches. We must be able to discern friend from foe in order to survive. We also must teach ourselves how to be discerning so as to avoid deception and fraud. Despite pithy sayings to the contrary, we do judge books by their covers and people by their outward appearances. We later affirm or negate our initial judgment of others by their subsequent behavior and misbehavior.
To reserve judgment for later is generally a smart move in the social sense. Of course it’s wise to remain cautious during the first stages of friendship and romance. This is basic common sense and the right thing to do.
Recently, I encountered a distant cousin during a visit to the local Goodwill Store. She had a severe pulmonary illness similar to “walking pneumonia”. Her nose was stuffy and her voice was quite hoarse. The outdoor temperature was near zero Fahrenheit and she was not wearing a mask. Furthermore, the cousin had called into work for three consecutive sick days. Given the fact that she had also suffered a case of Covid last fall, she was taking a major risk to herself as well as exposing others to whatever bacterial or viral infection she currently has.
I was glad that I was wearing a mask and stood probably ten feet away from her during our brief conversation. I mentioned that it would be smart that she return home and get more rest. She said that was her plan, but she wanted to pick up a few things at WalMart first. I strongly advised her not to do that because of the risk that she could pick up some other type of infection in addition to the more than certain chance that she might spread her illness to others.
After the cousin left the store, I remained upset that she had been acting wrongly by going out on a very cold day while being severely ill. Naturally, I was judgmental. I didn’t want to get sick and I didn’t want the stores’ employees and patrons to come down with whatever illness the cousin was suffering from. I judged her actions to be a major infraction. It is important to note that I judged her decisions and behavior but not her as a person.
“Everybody feels like an outcast because the world is so large and every fingerprint is so vastly different from one another, and yet we have these standards and beliefs, and dogmatic systems of judgment and ranking, in almost all the societies of the world.”–Ezra Miller
Certainly, it is wrong-headed to judge people on account of their gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, religious affiliation, or age. Haven’t we all been the target of someone else’s inaccurate judgment? Although we’re not supposed to feel slighted nor hurt by being judged, we do feel it deep inside, despite displays of outward denial. It is unwise to ignore insults because they are a signal of enmity. On the other hand, we don’t need to take such judgments to heart.
I’m not making an excuse for cart blanche judgment of others. I am stating that sometimes judgment is warranted and that in other cases it is not justified. The act of making judgments is nuanced. Initial “snap” judgments are often accurate indicators of character despite there being exceptions. Seemingly rational discernment is often colored by our emotions. This means we can further determine to do our level best to more accurately evaluate situations and people. This is a matter of using our best judgment to navigate through life.
To judge and to be judged are basic facts of life. These are further instances why mindfulness can serve our best interests and the interests of others. It is good practice to be aware of our own judgmentalism and that of others. Carefulness about judgment enables more wisdom in our lives.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the Ancient Roman historian and politician, Publius Cornelius Tacitus. “Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader.”
After every blog posting there are always links to similar postings and a post is listed under yours with the title:
Why Do Christians Seem So Judgmental?
And that’s a question I asked myself a long time ago.
Although we in the West think we are very tolerant and open-minded, the subject of judgment occupies a remarkably broad space in our thinking. here are of course many reasons for this, but there is no harm in questioning some of them.
Thank you for bringing such links to my attention. I do not see them because I am always signed in to my WordPress account. Yes, we westerners spend a lot of time discussing this topic.
💎 – Diamond Hard – 💎
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💎 – Diamond Hard – 💎
💜 P.S. a further Caveat is Changing Our Minds EveryOne; as a Reluctant Divorcee I NOW!!! Fully Understand that The Only Constant is Change but I Still DON’T!!! Fully Understand How Couples 💑 Stay Together until ‘Death Do They Part’ apart from Their Changing Together…herewith is My Current Comprehension EveryBody; basically:
💍 1. Get Together
🤬 2. Argue
⬅️➡️ 3. Separate
…after Hours of Soul Searching and AAC (Assessment, Analysis, Conclusion) I Reached a Simple Answer; it’s Crystal 🔮 Clear Clarity that Most of Us ARE NOT!!! at ALL Genuine, Authentic and Honest with OurSelves and Others hence The High Divorce Rates…an Awesome Advert has a Bride and Groom doing the ‘For Better, For Worse’ Vows; while The SubTitles display The Small Print 🖨 Being Fake, False and Fraudulent along with Being InAuthentic and DisHonest…in Summary I Believe We Have a Fluid, Flexible Soul Plan; but if We Don’t Admit, Acknowledge and Address Our MMHI (Multiple Mental Health Issues) Our EEP!!! (Energetic Evolution Process!!!) Remains Stalled from Our ABC (Abusive Brutal Conditioned) UpBringing…
I agree with you that judgment is not an inherently bad thing. In some cases, it can be important and necessary. It’s impossible to imagine a functioning justice system without courts of law and judges to determine guilt or innocence and appropriate punishments.
The pitfalls are when a) people are judged on criteria unrelated to the situation (eg. demographic characteristics rather than character and actions), b) judgments issued without full context of the situation (eg. an action appropriate in one circumstance may be inappropriate in another and vice versa, and we often don’t know the full context when we make judgments), and c) we make judgments against other people for doing something, but we are blind to ourselves doing the same thing, in other words, judging ourselves with a different scale than we use to judge everyone else.
Yes! You said exactly what I tried to, much more eloquently!
Without skillful judgment, we would react like simple organisms to stimuli. We would want every new shiny object and shrink away from every single challenge.
Perhaps as a result of my upbringing (perhaps just how I am wired) I see people very easily. Empath is the popular (annoying) noun but it’s simpler than that. I can smell a fake, an ego-driven person, and a harmful person for miles. I couldn’t always but now it’s almost disturbing. I also sense hurt/sadness almost instantly. It has made me tougher AND kinder. I have learned to keep my assessments to myself because I can’t explain how I know these things. I think it’s being highly attuned to body language, etc. Also—I think the good and bad of judgement really depends on the metrics. If you’re judging people based on material things, or how they’ve applied themselves to your specific religious doctrine, you’re probably not doing it right. If you’re judging people on their kindness, on their own context, on how they treat others… fair enough.
Yes, this. Learning wise discernment is a lifelong process. It’s easy to slip up, though.