Years ago I realized how judgmental I had become. I found myself judging others that were outside the realm of which I patterned my life or lifestyle, and the crazy part of it all is, I thought I was correct in my thinking.
The Holy Bible says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. For as you judge others, so you will yourselves be judged….” (Matthew 7:1). Amazingly I found this to be very true. Why? Well…..let’s just say…..misery loves company. When you are judgmental, those around you will be as well. When you have a negative conversation about someone, everyone wants to join in. You find yourself surrounded by people who are just like you. If you’re positive, your friends with be as well. If you are negative, well…..you get the picture.
The Sufi poet Rumi once wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” We alienate ourselves with self-alienating communication, trapping ourselves in a world of judgments. We sometimes speak a language of judgment (therefore programming our entire day for the default of negative behavior). If we occupy our communication with who’s good, bad, normal, abnormal, responsible, irresponsible, smart, ignorant, beautiful, ugly, fit, fat, etc., it will only absorb our lives with a box to live in of small proportion.
I decided long ago to fight the tendency of being judgmental. Just because I don’t agree with someone doesn’t give me the right to be their judge. Am I always perfect in this continuous fight to be non-judgmental? Nope…..I fail consistently. But I am trying. I find myself failing at this battle quite often….especially when I’m around someone who has a negative attitude or someone who is judgmental of others. It’s easy to conform to the conversations around you when you are with people who accept negative behaviors.
I was asked by a group of teenagers years ago in a church Sunday School class a question. “Jef, are you prejudice?” Wow!! That question came out of no where. The room was filled with a wide diversity of teens that were anticipating my answer. I replied…. “Yes, I’m prejudice.” They were astounded at my answer and they began being very vocal about it. I quickly held my hand up and asked them to give me a chance to explain. I said, “I’m prejudice against people who are prejudice. And in my opinion that is still very bad. You see, prejudice is a form of hate…..no matter how you look at it. We all have our battles to win victory over.”
When you see an opportunity to share your feelings about someone (or even a group of people), maybe it’s best you stop, think, and feel the effect it would have on you if others were to say the same about you. I fight this battle every day. It gets better.
Maybe you’re not the person I am or that I’m trying to be. Maybe you don’t vote like I do. Maybe you don’t speak the same language. Maybe you don’t have the same lifestyle. That’s OK……
Who am I to judge?