My mother used to say, “don’t judge, because when you do you put your foot on the same slippery stone the person you’re judging is standing on.” In other words, casting judgment on others comes back around and bites you in the butt, sooner or later. Ouch.
I’ve judged. I’ve been a fault-finder and a condemner and I’ve scrutinized others’ actions in minute detail. I get annoyed and irritated, or I feel insecure and need to justify myself, or I want to fit in with a certain group or mindset and so I must therefore denounce some other group or mindset. Sometimes, I still fall into that nasty habit. And sooner or later, I reap what I’ve sown.
And not just by being judged for my actions. Usually, judgment comes back around in the form of experiencing the same things the people I judged are experiencing. Not only is it humiliating, it’s discouraging. How can you ask for help, or sympathy, or understanding, when you’ve been the one casting stones? Judgment is a double-edged sword.
Judgment disguises itself in all kinds of costumes… higher wisdom, greater spirituality, enhanced knowledge, sarcasm, humor, wit, intelligence, self-righteousness, holiness, and so forth, making it important to examine those negative thoughts, words, and behaviors we have about the people around us. For Americans (and especially American Christians) judgment often flares up under the guise of “defending our rights.” But really, the only right we have is the right to walk in love. That’s the right that Jesus chose, when He actually had all the rights in the universe at His disposal.
Still, I’m guilty. I judged the herds of hunters in Walmart yesterday. All those men in camouflage and orange who can’t find bread, milk, and eggs, purportedly headed to the forest to find deer and elk stirred up my inner judgmentalist and came out snarky and snide. (Walmart, BTW, is a terrific place to practice walking in love. Just when you think you’ve passed the test, your fellow Walmart shoppers will prove you wrong.)
I judged my husband’s choice of movie rentals yesterday as stupid and immature and childish. Then I proceeded to devour the latest episodes of General Hospital and Vampire Diaries with guilty glee. Um… pot calling kettle? All I can say in my defense—which is a surefire clue that you are judging someone, by the way—is that at least my guilty pleasures don’t include the F bomb in every line of dialog.
Yeah, it’s been one of those kinds of weeks, the kind where you realize you are reaping what you sow in terms of judgment. Ouch. Judging is part of our carnal nature, and needs to be set aside in favor of the spirit within and the choice to abide in love. That’s our real right.