To Judge Or Not To Judge, That Is The Question Of this Opinion Piece
Judging others and being judged by others seems to be a big deal in our American society. It makes sense that “judging others” is a big concern for the non secular (religious oriented) segment of society. The Bible teaches the point of not judging others. The secular (nonreligious) part of our society seems equally concerned about the topic of not judging others.
Why is “judging others” such a big deal? Is it because people, don’t want to be judged? Is it because the non secular lean on Biblical teachings that judging others is bad and let God be the judge?
There could be many other reasons for the assertion not to judge others. I will restrain this opinion piece to the two issues mentioned: For the secular, don’t judge others because no one wants to be the subject of someone’s judgment and to the non secular aspect of Bible teachings on judgment.
My background is in Christianity and the biblical teachings of not judging others and knowing that God is the real judge of my actions and the actions of everyone else. I find it odd that secular society is concerned about not judging others and not wanting to be judged. Because they are in the secular category, they have no fear of being judged by God which should lift a great deal of weight of their shoulders.
For them, I think the issue is more about other people judging them and making them feel bad about themselves.
I think it is easy to understand the point of view that no one wants to be judged because being judged means that you have done something wrong or that someone disapproves of your actions. This can make one feel bad about oneself. No one wants to feel bad about themselves. If anyone is in this category of thought then they should be reminded that it does not matter what people think about you what matters is what you think about yourself.
Do you give power to others to make you feel bad? Do you keep all power to yourself on how you think about yourself? Eleanor Roosevelt has oft been quoted with this statement: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So if someone is “judging” you, big deal. Who cares? Only you can make yourself feel bad.
For the non secular demographic the issue of judgment becomes more complicated. We contend with the issues of not judging others even though we must do it every day. We also need to deal with the knowledge that God is our judge and we need to keep His commandments to get a favorable judgment.
The Bible tells us clearly not to judge, “judge not, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall also be judged.” Most Christians just leave it at the level of not judging others, but like I said we do it every day. Let me illustrate a few examples of how we judge every day.
If your neighbor asked your 12-year-old daughter to babysit his kids for the evening and you knew that one of the parents was a convicted pedophile would you let your daughter accept the babysitting job? No, of course not. Putting a child in front of a pedophile is like putting an alcoholic drink in front of a reformed alcoholic.
If your 16-year-old daughter was asked out by a convicted rapist would you tell her to have a good time or would you tell her that she will not be going out with that man?
Say you come across two street vendors and they are both selling a certain type of wallet that you like. One is handmade, is strong, durable and will last a very long time. The other is mass-produced, has the same features as the handmade wallet but is $5.00 cheaper. Which wallet do you choose? It doesn’t matter, the point is that you have to judge or weigh the options of both choices and determine which is best for you. But you must judge.
In the case of the babysitting job for the known pedophile or the date with a known rapist you have to judge the same way. You weigh the options and look at the possibilities and decide if it is worth taking a chance.
There are all kinds of examples of the many ways in which we judge every day. So we must consider the second part of the statement from the Bible about judging others. “Judge not, for with what judgement ye judge, ye shall also be judged.” The first part is “judge not” the second aspect of the sentence is “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall also be judged.”
So if you want a righteous or favorable judgment in the great day of judgment you will make all your judgments righteously. God knows the intents and desires of your heart. If you’re judging righteously or attempting to judge righteously then God will look with favor upon you in the day of judgment.
Speaking to both demographics, the secular and non secular, I think we should consider the term “judging others” may be a bit over done. What I mean by this is that we may often use or feel that the judging of others as a way to put others down in order to make us feel better about our self. We may use “judging” as a way to insult others. Really that’s not judging others as much as it is just being mean and rude.
The act of judging is a means of weighing the various sides of an issue to make a decision. Is “xxx” good or bad, right or wrong, good for me or bad for me wondering about the consequences of either choice?
I think this is where tolerance comes into play. You may decide there is a need to judge someone. Go ahead and judge that person according to your belief system but be tolerant of that person and their beliefs. That person can be judged by you but you can still treat him or her fairly and with the respect they deserve. Just because you have judged their views as “wrong” in your eyes doesn’t mean you can’t be civil toward them and courteous to them.
As this article is being written, the elections are a week away. The closer to voting day the more vitriolic the add campaigns get. There’s no excuse for that but during the heated debates and after the election results are in we should all be tolerant of each other “learn to give each other what we need to survive…in perfect harmony” as the wise song “Ebony and Ivory” advocates.
My best friend is a life long friend of 47 years. I don’t agree with everything he believes. I have judged some of his views as incompatible with mine and vice versa. But we get along well, we’ve been there for each other and supported each other over the years.
Judging has its rightful place in the lives of either demographic but it does not need to get in the way of how we feel about ourselves. Making judgments doesn’t need to make us feel like we have sinned if we have used the process of judging wisely.
Troy Wagstaff ©
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