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 stuff.
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. My guess is you are your 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.
Hope you have a fantastic week!