Monday, July 14, 2014
Don't Judge Me! An Encouragement to Self Examination
"Don't judge" has been thrown around so much lately and to be honest, it erks me. Don't misunderstand me here. I am not saying that we should look down and snarl our noses at others for making different (or even bad) choices than what we agree with. Our job is to love others. But this whole "don't judge" thing is getting out of control. Y'all know I am a Christ follower and I am all about some Jesus and the Woman at the Well "Neither do I condemn you!" stuff! (That's in John Chapter 8 if you want to read it. Great story!) So don't misunderstand me. Hear me out.
First, people are constantly getting offended because they see judgment where none is intended. I see even the most honest and benignba j statements being turned into something that they are not, especially on Facebook. If you can read one single facebook post about someone and decide that you know their heart's intentions and what they are thinking, then maybe you are guilty of that thing you hate, judging. And if all it takes is one facebook post for you to decide someone's character and whether or not you like them, maybe the problem isn't the post or the poster. Maybe it's your own heart issue.
Second, someone isn't "wrong" for stating an opinion that doesn't line up with yours, especially if you are posting you opinion on a social forum where the point is to garner comments and opinions from others. Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn't automatically mean they are judging you. Have you stopped to consider that no one on this earth is going to agree with you 100% on everything? If you dislike everyone who doesn't completely agree with you on all points, you will dislike the whole world. I will add, there are some issues that don't stand to be waivered on, of couse. But you will never convince anyone else of your opinion if all you can say is "Stop judging me! God is my judge!" If you want to share your opinion and convince others of it, the best thing you can do is present your opinion clearly and concisely, back up your reasoning, and show respect and love for others.
Third, when I care about someone, I let them know when they are making a bad choice because I DON'T WANT THEM TO MAKE A BAD CHOICE BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT THEM. Is that "judging?" Maybe. The line is a thin one. But as long as there is no malice or rudeness, is that really relevant? My husband got so mad at me one time because I told him I didn't want him to buy a certain truck. He thought I was being ridiculous and that I just wanted him to be stuck with the car he had and that I didn't want him to be happy. He bought the truck anyways, and now he regrets it because he has had issue after issue with it and cant afford to get out of it. Was I judging his decision? Yep, because he was making a poor one and I was trying to protect him from his own poor decision. Was I judging his poor decision? You bet cha. And now he wishes he had heeded my judgment. Stop to consider for a second that when WE are the ones in the middle of making a decision, we can get blinded. My husband was blinded to the problems that truck had because he wanted a truck so bad. I could see those problems when he couldn't. It isn't always a bad thing to at least listen to opposing opinions. In fact, i think it's SMART to listen to opposing opinions. You will either consider things you didn't consider before and realize you were wrong, or you will know even more that what you believe is right for you because you weighed the pros and cons.
Fourth, judging does have its place. Hear me out. Do i judge my children's behavior when they act up? Yes. Yes i do. and when I judge that they are acting a fool, they get disciplined. And when i judge that they are behaving, they get praised. Because that's my job as their mom to judge their behavior in order to help them to make good choices in behavior. The other night i was in downtown nashville at midnight. Me and two female friend were in a dark parking lot and as we approached our car, a man was standing behind it whom I presumed to be homeless. He immedately came toward us when he saw us and started asking for money. I looked around and saw that there was no one else around but me and my girlfriends. I never said a word to him, but reached into my purse and put my hand on the grip of my handgun and left it there until the man walked away and we got safely into our car. I judged the man. If he had decided to attack me or one of my friends, he would've had the advantage of being larger than us, in a dark alley, and in an area where no else was around to help us. So i made a judgment call, and one that could have saved our lives if the man had been looking to attack someone. i do it every day. I judge whether or not someone is trustworthy enough to babysit my kids. What kind of mother would i be if i did not? I judge whether or not a doctor is capable of performing surgery on Christian. I judge whether or not I want to be friends with someone. What kind of person would i be if I constantly let abusive people manipulate and take advantage of me?
Fifth, are there some people who are just judgmental jerks? Yep. and Facebook is a breeding ground for them. Trust me. If anyone knows about them, I do. Remember, I am the mom of that cute little boy who some people look at a single picture of and determine that he should be dead. I have literally had strangers see a single picture of Christian on Facebook and say "If i saw that kid walking down the street, I would murder him." They judge that Christian's life isn't worth living based on one single picture. But most of you who know him know how awesome he is and how loved he is and how great his quality of life is. But if facebook has taught me anything, it's that MOST people are not judgmental jerks. We all have tendencies to jump to conclusions, we all make assumptions sometimes that are wrong and we end up eating our words later, but most people honestly are nice people who are just flawed human being like all the rest of us. We say things out of turn or we stick our foot in our mouth later and realize that we were wrong. Lord knows I have!
See, i don't think it's "judgement" that we hate so much. I think what we hate is being challenged, being called on to defend our stance because sometimes our beliefs have holes in them. I think we hate when someone points out our faults. Yeah, it doesn't feel good. But if we ever want to grow and learn from those things, sometimes it's necessary to be called out. I want to be that person who, when someone judges me unfairly, I can say, "That's ok, I forgive you." But I also want to be that person who does't always cry out "don't judge me" when someone else expresses an opposing opinion or judges me fairly. (Except when I'm using it in a joke, which I do often. i.e. i'm eating chocolate for the 6th time today. Don't judge me.) I want to learn from their words and consider things I have not considered before. I want to grow from their words and be challenged when someone judges me correctly and finds fault.
This post is not meant to "judge" anyone, but rather to encourage all of us to be the best person that we can be, to love each other just a little more, and to look for the good in things instead of the bad! So, don't judge me! ;P