Are You Judgmental?

March 9, 2017

What – me judgmental? No way! I have always had the knack of seeing the value in every person so doesn’t that let me off the hook? Besides, even when I form an opinion of another I usually don’t speak it. Does this sound like you? Join me as we look at how judgmental we are. 

I remember a particular memory that sticks in my head like glue. I had loaded up the double stroller, the diaper bag, and all three children for a mall day. We were headed to our favorite shoe store to buy some shiny new shoes. I loved taking my obedient, well-behaved children out in public. They were a joy to be around.

I admit I was a prideful mom.  

Upon arriving at the shoe store, I was horrified by the behavior of a particular boy and HIS MOM. He apparently would not sit still, and she didn’t seem to care. He climbed back and forth over the chairs spewing an array of items all over the floor. Plus he was quite loud, and you couldn’t help but stare. From the looks of his size, I would have to estimate his age to be about seven.

Certainly at seven one should have been able to sit still like my three children. The poor salesman was exasperated.

My mind went into overdrive – First, I started forming questions in my mind.

  • “Why doesn’t she discipline him?”
  • “Why does she allow this to go on?”
  • “Why doesn’t she care?”
  • “Isn’t she embarrassed?”

BUT then the judgments rolled out in full force as I sat looking at the fiasco before my eyes. “What kind of parent allows their child to act this way in public?

“She must be a BAD MOM!”

What does it even mean to judge another?

When we judge others and attach an evaluation, we deem them “right” or “wrong,” “good” or “bad.” etc.   It is our opinion of their choices, behavior, or values from our perspective and personal values. It is a comparison that is not necessarily based on facts or truth.

We assume that we are right and they are wrong.

It doesn’t take into account what it is like to walk in their shoes.

Oh, how I shudder now at my thoughts. I had no idea what was going on in her life or that precious child of hers. How I wish I could go back and offer a hug, some understanding, or at the very least a smile that says,

“It is okay; this moment will pass.” “I can handle this disruption as I have my own at times.”

I know now after being harshly judged, life is not always as it seems. Others have no idea the shoes we walk in or understand –

We are doing the best that we can at this moment.  

 “You can either practice being right or practice being kind.” – Anne Lamott

 Do you think that you don’t judge others?

We all judge others whether we think we do or not. It is a natural instinct to judge not only in the big things but the small things.

I challenge you to tally up for the rest of the day how many times a judgment slips through your mind about another person. Look for those statements that start out like,

  • “Why on earth would she show up in that outfit?”
  • “Wow, did you see the way she talked to her husband?”
  • “Check out that hair style!”
  • “You would think he could comb his hair better?”
  • “He is always late!” etc.

Then look for those words we attach to the person like: bad, good, ugly, beautiful, inappropriate, fat, skinny, stupid, smart, etc.

As you tally this up, you might be surprised at how much you judge others. I then encourage you to look within. I bet you are your own harshest critic.

I know for me it was an unexpected discovery that I did not like and sought to change.

BUT wait you might ask, “Is it never okay to judge?”

Of course not, sometimes it can be very helpful in making important decisions or discerning how to live our lives. We are all called to judge from time to time.   We have judges, policeman, teachers, doctors, etc. that we rely on to make the call of right and wrong or evaluate tests or situations.

It is the judgmental attitude that gets us into trouble. This attitude is what Jesus talks about in the Bible. It is a fine line between judging and calling someone out on their sins. Jesus would call people out for their sins, but at the same time, he would then pull them in as friends. He was descriptive in labeling the behavior not the person as bad or good.

“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.”  Matthew 7:1-2

So now we know we all judge and probably a heck of a lot more than we think. Take time this week to see just how much you are judging others. It might surprise you.

Please share with us, how have you judged others unfairly or a time when you were assessed harshly by others.

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Hope you have a fantastic week!

 

27 Comments

  1. Reply

    Chores by Age and a Judgmental Attitude -Living Proverbs 31 linkup - A Proverbs 31 Wife

    […] the Unexpected hits us pretty hard with her soul searching question: Are You Judgmental? I think most of us would say no, we’re not. Maree didn’t think she was either, but then […]

  2. Reply

    TiffineyHolmes

    I seriously can’t believe how much this post spoke to me. I would consider myself to be a non judgmental person, but I violated so many things that you listed here. I don’t want to be judgmental, I want to be like Jesus. Thank you for helping me to see the error of my ways and for giving me hope that it doesn’t have to be this way.

    I was your neighbor over at coffee for your heart!
    Blessings,
    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinistry.com

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Tiffiney, You are not alone. I always considered myself to be a non-judgmental person until I took a class and was forced to take a look at judging. Not only was I judgmental, but it also got in the way of my relationships. Good news is just being aware can help.

      Blessings,
      Maree

  3. Reply

    Christine Duncan

    This is such a constant challenge. I find all too often I’m mentally and verbally saying grace-less things… and then realize to late that I need grace extended by my Father every second, so who am I??? Lord, change my heart!
    Thankful for this insightful reminder today, Maree!
    Visiting from #TellHisStory

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are so welcome.Thank you for stopping by. Oh, how I need God’s grace every single day. Maree

  4. Reply

    Becky Hastings

    I relate to this all too well. God has been showing me how judgemental my heart can be….and why. It is hard! Often I am looking for approval. When people do life the same way I do it shows me that I’m ok…I’m right….I’ve got this. So often the judgement says more about me than about anyone else. So grateful you shared your story today!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are so right, “sometimes the judgment says a lot more about me than the other person.” This was a startling thing to learn as I studied judgments, yet so true.

  5. Reply

    Loved by the King of kings

    Ok, so I clicked over here and read this, knowing I was going to be convicted. I tend to give friends the benefit of the doubt, but not strangers. I especially fall into judging other drivers who make mistakes in their driving. I often assume that they are rude and doing it on purpose. I recently read someone else’s blog post who suggested that we tell ourselves that they are doing their best. I practiced that for a few days, and already need this reminder. So, thank you. I hope to make this a new habit.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Driving now that is a huge one. I remember one time being judged harshly for a mistake I had made. It devastated me. I had pulled into pick up dry cleaning and parked our huge suburban in one of the many spots available. I didn’t realize it was a compact spot, they all looked the same. A lady followed me into the cleaners and screamed at me for parking there. Little did she know I am one of the biggest rule followers and never would have parked in that particular spot had I realized it. A kind correction would have been well received instead of lashing.

      Yes, I agree if we live by the motto that everyone is trying the best they can, life become more peaceful and joyful.

      Hope you have a great weekend,

      Blessings,

      Maree

      1. Reply

        Loved by the King of kings

        I know, I’ve been accused, jokingly, of being a rule follower before too! In the maternity ward at a hospital! I mean, why do they make those rules if it isn’t to be followed? My rule-following brain can’t quite wrap around that one.
        But, yes, we want to be shown mercy and grace when we make mistakes, so we should offer the same to others when they make mistakes. I’m sorry you had to go through that devastating experience. But thank you for sharing it, as it is a good example of how we should treat others like we want to be treated and not in a way that we would NOT want to be treated.

        1. Reply

          Maree Dee

          I totally agree if the rules were made we better follow them. Funny thing is my husband is the opposite. Thank goodness I have relaxed a bit with the rules.
          Maree

  6. Reply

    Julie

    Yikes, guilty here! I’d be scared to tally it up during the day. Thank you for this post and I think I will try and be more intentional about this from now on. #ChasingCommunity

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Julie,
      Me too! When you start paying attention to judgments, it is a little shocking. I find being aware helps tremendously. Blessings, Maree

  7. Reply

    Dori Price

    when my kids are out of order in a store, i block everyone out. i just focus on finishing up what i’m doing, and get out of there fast! on those occasions when my kids display exceptional behavior (eh, er, um) in a store and i come across a mom who is struggling, i intentionally (but casually) go by her, and say, “hang in there, mama. you’ll make it!” we usually end up giggling and proceed with our business.

    kindness and understanding go a long way (smile).

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Dori,

      I love that your comment to the struggling mama. I bet it does lead to a few giggles and I bet you go home feeling lighter as if you speak a little kindness into the world. I hope you are the one I run into when I am struggling in the store.

      Maree

  8. Reply

    Dawn Boyer

    That Anne Lamott quote really made me pause, Maree Dee. Kindness vs Righteousness. When our own righteousness is dependent upon His we have no other recourse but to be kind, do we?

    And yes, the attitude of judgement. oh, my.

    I think those of us who have been on the other side of unfair words and unnecessary criticism can see it for what it is, but also have the dangerous position of being judgmental when the very ones who have cast judgment see it as it is. That is one place the Lord has really convicted me. I want to be proud and sometimes even unloving because my heart has not let go of the hurt that was inflicted. And then grace sort of unties the laces of my heart and reminds me that I am called to better and more and to love…. And sometimes I get frustrated at that little voice that reminds me of the way it felt.
    But when we let grace win, it makes all the difference. It heals the scarred spaces were judgment cut us deep and it makes the connection actually mean more because a sacrifice was given. Hmm… that is making me think more.
    I appreciate this post!
    Blessings!
    Dawn

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Dawn,

      Thank you for your wise words to ponder. I too want to be unloving sometimes because I have not let go of the hurt. I can think of one particular relationship I am doing that in right now. Hmmm, time to “let grace win.” I like that. Thank you for adding to the discussion with some more things to think about.

      Blessings,

      Maree

  9. Reply

    Valerie

    I think you’re right that we judge a lot more than we think we do. I’m going to be thinking about this today and doing my own tally. What a great way to evaluate how we’re doing in this area. I think the words “judgmental attitude” distinguish the difference between loving correction and having an attitude that’s overall judgmental. Great post!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Valerie,
      I know for me just being aware of my attitude helps tremendously.
      Yes, kind of scary to tally it up.
      Blessings,
      Maree

  10. Reply

    Bette

    Great post, Maree! What I’d like to add is that I find when I get into that judgmental mode, it just makes matters worse and sends me and the entire situation into a downward spiral. However, if/when I stop myself and use “benign interpretation” instead, I feel better and handle the situation and/or the
    person in a more loving, understanding way which results in a win-win!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Bette, That is so true it is like a spiral. I agree using “benign interpretation” really helps me to feel better too. Maree

  11. Reply

    Brenda

    It’s so easy to look from the outside and forget that everyone has a story. We just never know what’s going on in others’ lives, do we? How I pray for a soft heart toward others. We have so much else going on in our worlds, we need grace from one another, not criticism. Love that quote you shared from Anne Lamott (wrote it down!) Such a good word today, Maree, thanks for the reminder that kindness is always better than judgment. Thank you for sharing your heart with #ChasingCommunity. ((Hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – So true about looking from the outside. I plan to share a little story next week where things got reversed, and I was the one judged by how things looked not as they really were. I needed grace. Maree

  12. Reply

    nylse

    So I think you did a good job of attempting to break this down this touchy topic. We all judge. As christians we’re supposed to judge. But it’s what we do with that judgement that may get us into trouble. Its also using that judgement as a source of pride that harms. Empathy maybe the antidote for negative judgement.

    Stopping by from #ChasingCommunity

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. It was not an easy topic. I totally agree with your wise word. Yes, empathy is what is best. Maree

  13. Reply

    Megs

    I agree, Maree, that sometimes it’s necessary to judge in discernment, but that it’s the attitude of judgement that gets us into trouble. Very well, and wisely, put.
    Happy Thursday!
    Megs

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Megs – I started with judging is awful but then realized of course we have to judge at times. I think where we get in the most trouble is when we add evaluation to the person. If anything, judge the behavior, not the person. Maree

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