Judgment, Judgmentalism and Condemnation
“Why would one punish a physically blind person who stumbles, falls and breaks their arm or leg in the process? Only the most callus, unfeeling and most heartless of people would do so. All of us are “blind” in one way or another therefore no one can truly assess anything with absolute certainty. We all err out of blindness. Christ gave us an example while on the cross, where out of love and mercy, He asked the Heavenly Father to “forgive them; they know not what they do.” The implication being that these people were not acting with their full awareness and if they knew better they would not have acted as they did. For this simple reason and from Christ’s supreme example we are called upon to be tolerant, compassionate, merciful and forgiving rather than judgmental when dealing with our fellow man, while at the same time not being foolish or unjust in our assessment of others and life-situations.
Given that very few people have had to call upon the reserves of their mercy towards another from a situation as dire as being crucified; one would think that most of us would have a much easier time forgiving one another for our relatively minor day to day situations and not provoke one another further through judgment upon each other.
Judging is a very peculiar thing; the ultimate double edged sword. The moment we are asked to assess anything, whether it is a situation, the colour of a pair of pants and how it may go with a shirt, when is the right moment to make a turn while driving, human behavior and so on, we have to make a judgment call. If it is wrong to judge then why are we constantly being called upon to do so in everyday life? All of these situations require a judgment call which, if made incorrectly, could have dire consequences.
What is the difference between having to judge a life situation and judging a person? Either way one is ultimately having to make a comparative assessment. In a situation, we generally try to conclude what is most beneficial for one’s own interest, with few exceptions. One could either be simply stating a fact about a person’s behaviour or accusing the other of being “bad or evil” compared to the presumed “goodness” on the part of the accuser; the person’s “being” is being accused and therefore judged. Under all circumstances, one must try to separate the truth of a situation based upon what ones concept of truth is. The mere fact that, due to the imperfection of our senses and personal biases, everyone has a slightly different concept of the same things, removes the absoluteness of one person’s assessment, reducing it to one’s best guess or a personal opinion. Although it is very important to call “a spade a spade,” and leaving aside the very necessary need to assess life situations, at what point does this process constitute judgment, judging or “judgmentalism?”
Are you innocently stating a fact or are you actually judging?
When does stating a fact become a judgment? What is the difference? In the case mentioned above, when one clearly stands to lose, one can justifiably state, “I will not deal with you because you cannot be trusted on account of you being a liar! Is this the judgment that the Bible speaks of? Or, would it be better to state; “I will not deal with you because you cannot be trusted on account of your lying.” The first statement is accusing someone of being in a very specific “pejorative state,” while the latter statement identifies the action without condemning the person directly. Some might say that hairs are being split here, but in order to make the first statement, one is stating that the person who has lied is “evil” compared to the presumed “goodness” of the accuser. The latter statement does not attack the person, it identifies the action separate from the person. One is an attack; the other is a candid observation. Both statements might be true, but the latter, by identifying the act itself separate from the person, is merciful.
If you are defending yourself and your interests through the knowledge gained from a factual observation this cannot be construed as unjust nor an injustice. We have been given a faculty that it might be put to good use. Our perceptions have no worth and would serve no purpose if we could not process them, analyze them and learn from them. It would seem that conclusions drawn from cold blooded observation made without prejudice can be more accurately described as discernment rather than actual judgment; a deliberate breakdown and analysis of a situation. And, in the process a decision is made towards an action that is in one’s own best interest. This is not necessarily a judgment between what is good and what is not good (evil).
There is a paradox however. In the example of lying, there is not a person on Earth who can honestly say that they have never lied. Everyone has lied at some point in their lives. Does this make everyone a liar? And, if everyone has lied, how can one person justifiably call another who is lying a liar without being a hypocrite?
A lie is more than a mere untruth. It is a deliberate statement intended to mislead, ultimately costing people their time and energy. People can lie for self interest or to protect another person, out of selfishness, mischievousness or even out of love. Those who would deliberately do you harm using the truth or, who cannot face the truth, do not deserve the truth. An omission is not necessarily a lie; it can however be a deception. Deliberate deception is loveless and is merely a lie of a different colour.
Lying: A life circumstance that requires judgment or at least critical assessment.
If someone lies to us, it would be prudent to understand that one is dealing with a potential liar. And, if we are in a situation where there is, for example, a financial transaction and we know that we are dealing with someone who lies, most people would agree that they should not, for the sake of their own interests and preservation, put their trust in a person who would willingly or deliberately lie or mislead to further their own interests. Would labeling such a person as a liar, constitute a judgment against that person? Some might agree, others might state that they are merely stating an obvious fact and therefore, not judging.
A lie is a statement that is intended to deliberate create a false image or a false picture of reality in order to deliberately create a misdirection whereby the liar can achieve a specific end that suites their intentions. A lie can be used to protect oneself or a loved one or to mislead. The severity of a lie or the consequence of a lie can be measured in time and energy having been wasted by its victim.
Experience has shown that there are nuances to lying. Some are definitely better at it than others. These nuances deliberately use a cunning stealth to escape being found out. The whole point of this is getting someone to do your bidding by making it seem to them that it was their idea in the first place. To achieve this end a person can use a completely neutral statement or a true fact. This is not the same as dropping hints in order to tactfully defuse a “sticky” a situation. The intention here is to be misleading while preserving the mantle of complete innocence and still keeping the back door of deniability open.
The ultimate end result being that Their intentions might include escaping responsibility, taking advantage of someone’s resources, to evade discovery, to manipulate, to maliciously implicate or cause strife, to . . . There are many reasons to lie some good and some not but, the ability to deliberately ensnare an innocent is, by any measure, still a nasty political game that is often part of comedy and tragedy at the expense of others.
Having said this, it is therefore possible to create the effect of a lie while using true facts and statements in a certain sequence or with important omissions. This creates a situation that is considerably more devious than a simple lie. There are people who by virtue of their presumptuousness and very keen intelligence use this “lying technique” in a very sophisticated manner that technically and literally is not lying but, their intention is deception, which is the effect of a lie. Rather than risking being caught in telling an untruth, they use misdirection; verbal “slight of hand.” By making a deliberate but calculated statement that is intended to plant the germ of an idea, that is the liars, into someone else’s mind about a specific subject, circumstance or the like, by making a leading statement that is related to that idea.
For instance, if someone wants a gift for their birthday from someone but knows that it would be extremely rude to openly ask for it, they have to devise a situation that is strongly leading by making one of several statements that would imply their own birthday without blatantly mentioning it.
If their intended victim happens to have another loved one who has a birthday at about the same time, they would ask; “Is “so and so” having their birthday soon?” Or, they might ask: “how old will “so and so” be this year. The implication being oh it is your birthday too; I have to get you a present.” Some parents think this is soooooo clever.
It is incumbent upon a properly raised child when it finds itself in need of something that it should respectfully and humbly ask for it and, if it is deemed a reasonable request it will, with great pleasure, be lovingly rendered in the reasonable course of time. Instead, some children, having been repeatedly reminded of their inborn superiority to others instead employ a deceitful cunning. After having acquired hunger after their activity they do not politely ask for food or a specific food, that would satisfy their need. Instead they say, “I’m hungry,” and leave it at that, without suggesting how hungry they are or a food that might ease their need. By stating, “I’m hungry” they leave the matter completely open, leaving it up to the other person to offer what they have knowing full well that the person being made aware of their hunger has plenty to offer. In this way they stand to get much more than if they were to ask for any one thing. The unsuspecting person would offer choices and quantities that would have otherwise not have been offered. To ask is humble, to play this game is an exercise in arrogance.
These situations are mentioned because of the subtle nuances in behavior that people sometimes employ to give the appearance of innocence while using extreme slyness. In terms of judgment one who is not familiar with this type of cunning is well served to become familiar with it as part of a life lesson. Personal judgment is called into play in order to understand the goings on in order not to be caught in a similar snare.
In a situation where someone is being forced to disclose the whereabouts of another for the purpose of doing them harm and they deliberately offer the wrong information; are they lying? Say this were a mother being asked to disclose her child’s whereabouts in a situation where there were no illegalities. Out of love for her child the mother would likely lie to protect her child. In this case the interrogators would not deserve to know the truth. If the mother was otherwise a forthright and honest person, in this specific and dire circumstance, even though the mother deliberately gave the wrong information, could she legitimately be labeled a liar for having not told the absolute truth out of necessity given the circumstances? Another Example: Two people; one trusting, the other exceptionally clever but self-interest-motivated, one trusting in the word of the other while the other seeks their own interest through the others blind trust in them, outwardly appearing to be acting in complete friendship, trust and accord. In reality this is a one sided friendship; one is using the other’s trust against them. In a business deal, one pledges that he will give half of all proceeds from the deal to the other. The other, having already decided what he will do, deliberately does not respond, cleverly allowing the other to believe that he feels and will act in the same manner and in the same “spirit.” When the time comes the latter deliberately intends to deceive the other with premeditation. The latter has no intention of honoring a mutual 50/50 implied agreement. Did the second party, by not saying anything, lie? Technically, in a lawyer’s reasoning, no! This is deception because of the deliberate and premeditated intent of the latter, based on knowing the formers’ unwavering trust and belief that the other is his friend in the Christian sense of friendship and the belief held by the latter that the former is just stupid and is very easily played. Trust, to someone who would do this, is considered stupidity. (Although it must be conceded that this type of behaviour is justifiable under certain circumstances, it should not exist among friends.) Did the latter through deliberate omission lie? Can they be called a liar? Can the former, by having trusted in the long time friend, be called stupid for having trusted his friend’s verbal “sleight of hand?” Granted, if someone habitually does not think about their circumstances and the behaviour of the people in them, it can be said that they deserve what they have coming to them by virtue of their own negligence or mental laziness. But, in friendship there should be some consideration for longstanding and acquired goodwill. If this does not exist, then the intent behind Christ’s second commandment of loving one’s fellow man would be for naught. The above situation is an excellent formula for perpetual turmoil rather than a lasting peace and friendship.
What to do and how to handle oneself without being in judgment of the people in these situations?
No person who is knowingly acting in the wrong likes to have it pointed out or, even worse, being ‘caught in the act.” All criminals act in secret as much as possible because they know that what they are doing is wrong, so they hide either themselves physically or their unseen intentions. If someone who is actively lying or deceiving to achieve their end is caught at their game, it is a severe blow to his ego. He would not engage in this type of behavior if he did not think he were smarter or in some way better than his victim. In Christian terms this is pride – clear and simple.
To “call” someone on what he is doing can be either merciful or judgmental.
To say to a liar, “my dear sir I will not deal with you because I do not and cannot believe you and you are giving me reason not to trust you. In future if you refrain from this behavior we might have dealings again, but until then I will not,” constitutes a statement of fact with a potential for possible future forgiveness based on sincerely improved behaviour (this rarely happens). This constitutes the statement of a fact. On the other hand to say, “You are a liar!” is a judgment. Although true, this is an accusation and therefore a judgment. The person making the accusation has likely lied before in his own life, and based on facts has come to this conclusion, or he might be an even bigger crook than the person he is accusing. In other words, to accuse someone outright in this manner of anything is to place oneself above the other person and constitutes judgment. The judge thinks himself better than the one he is accusing and therefore feels justified in judging them. In the categorical stating that one is a liar there is also no room for forgiveness and thereby one person is further condemning the other. The root of judgment is therefore a severe lack of humility and consequently a lack of love for ones fellow man. In short, to say to someone, “You are lying,” is discernment. To call them a liar is to judge – the action, versus the person.
When Mary Magdalene had been accused of being a whore and about to be stoned, Christ asked those in the crowd who were zealously anxious to kill her, “let the first of you who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Immediately, each of the would-be killers dropped their stones as they had accused themselves and could not in good conscience condemn another.
Are we not in this exact same situation almost on a daily basis?
Not only are we called upon to not judge in this manner, we are also asked to always forgive one another as part of not judging. This does not mean that we are to tolerate all manner of nonsense, debauchery, immorality, lewdness, thievery, general abusiveness etc. that goes on all around us. Tolerance has nothing to do with accepting evil. It has to do with accepting that we are all at fault in one way or another and should overlook the minor shortcomings we all have and that no one is completely innocent of. Major shortcomings that would affect us adversely or even endanger our lives physically, emotionally or spiritually should not and cannot not be tolerated. A judicious and vigilant discernment becomes necessary for our own sanity and self preservation.
Judge not lest ye be judged. In other words if you judge, you are not being forgiving and not allowing for forgiveness. In this lies one’s own judgment and condemnation. If you will not forgive another you cannot expect the Father to forgive you either. Condemn not, lest ye be condemned. There are several parables that describe this in Matt 7, Matt 18.
Some may have a hard time accepting that all of us contain all possible sins and the potential urges to commit them. That is to say, everyone is capable of lying, killing, stealing, unusual sexual behavior, and so on but the urge is deliberately controlled by the conscience, maturity or the situation. The restraint in one more than another makes one less of a sinner than another but ultimately no one is without these urges and we are all therefore sinners. Christ stated to one of His apostles who had an urge while observing a young beautiful woman. Christ said that the action to follow through on the urge was not necessary as the sin was already in the heart. The presence of the urge was already the sin.
Absolute pureness and the clarity that comes because of it is generally not part of physical existence. No one should accuse another or not allow for the possibility of forgiveness to another person of what is also potentially in us too. We could, but then we would be violating God’s request that we love our fellow man which is a judgment upon us. What God looks at is what is in our heart and we are judged based on that by Him. It is entirely possible to sincerely mean well and cause a problem. In man’s law you are punished even when you might not be guilty in the eyes of God.
The larger question may be why do people who judge feel the need to? Many have suggested that it is due to having a big ego. But, fundamentally it would seem to arise from an inner torment or a lack of inner peace; a thirst to right a subconscious wrong within themselves that they can no longer remember. Often the one who is doing the judging is, more often than not, also guilty of what they are judging another person of or has extensive experience with it and has overcome the need for the action. By openly condemning the other they feel that they exonerate themselves before others or that they are better than those they judge. Clearly this is hypocrisy working overtime! Who could be more able to catch a liar in their lie than another liar, or a reformed liar; who would know the process of lying better? Or, there are those who have exceptional powers of observation and would like that their exceptional talent be known, and so they point out their often accurate observations to others under the guise that they are trying to help them when in fact they are in love with their own ability and/or the potential discord that might ensue (If they like to fight). In the right light, these types of observations would be quite helpful and invaluable as we are all in need of seeing ourselves more clearly that we might better ourselves through this knowledge. But, there is a point of diminishing returns; to quote Matthew, “Why dost thou try to point out the mote in mine eye. Rather than pulling out the beam in thine own eye first.” (paraphrased) Matt. 7, Matt 18. There comes a point where these “well meaning” observations can become perpetual, then, they would cease to be mere helpful observations and become personal criticisms, even attacks on the very being of a person and then they could crush the person at the receiving end. At this point the attacked must make a choice, either 1) become like his attacker; the attacker seeing the conformity of the attacked and recognizing himself in the attacked will stop the attack because now they are of one mind, 2)leave or, 3)shrivel up and be crushed. An attack of this kind, if severe enough and prolonged enough, could literally remove the very “turf” upon which one stands. In the end, this is all any person really has and according to Paracelsus could constitute the grounds of the ailment “Insanity” to take hold. At this point, if we indeed reap what we sow, this judgment upon the receiver will come back to haunt the judge.
We should be reminded and reminded often that only God is all knowing, truly good and ultimately truly just therefore only God can be our one and only judge. To presume to judge another would mean as much as to presume to take Gods place and be above God Himself.
Every human being has their life from God and therefore contains also the spark of God, which is their life, within them. The fact that they exist also means that they are loved by God. Even though all of us already potentially contain the fullest wisdom within the spark of light that the Father gives us and reflects His image within us, we are born into this life with inborn limitations that we should strive to overcome. These limitations are presented to us as part of our schooling and spiritual maturation during our sojourn on Earth. Given that many of us on Earth have a difficult time finding out what the limitations we are born with are and, their ramifications, one person has no right to condemn another person simply because clearer powers of observation were granted them by the Father. Having such an ability and presuming to call all others who do not have it “stupid” would be the height of pompousness and arrogance as well as being in contempt of Christ second commandment; love and treat your fellow man as you would love and treat yourself. Where there is pompousness and arrogance there can be no humility and consequently no real love other than love of self! All other beings are God’s creations also. To insult Gods creations is to insult God.
Our limitations are meant to teach us humility. And those who are more gifted ought to be even more humble because what they have been permitted is not out of them but has been allowed out of the grace and mercy of God for a specific purpose and for the benefit of all, rather than to be wasted on the demeaning of others. Furthermore, it is much easier to use that gift to observe the actions of others than to use it to improve or correct one’s own behaviour! To call another person “stupid” is as much as saying that God does not know how to manage His own creation through the limitations that the Father deliberately placed on a specific person; the implication being that God Himself is stupid. Clearly it takes a certain personality to make such a statement. Stupor is merely a state of not being able to clearly perceive. This is what makes all of us imperfect, so no one should demean, belittle or otherwise imply, address or describe anyone as stupid. Some of us just see a little better than others. To flagrantly call someone stupid is to judge and to be above God’s judgment and to insult Gods judgment, and management over His own creation.
When it comes right down to it, the main reason why we really have no right to judge another person is that we simply have no jurisdiction to do so. We are creations of God, not each other; no other being created life other than God and there is no life He does not maintain or control. In absolute terms, if we can accept that God is our collective Creator then He and only He has jurisdiction over everything and no one else has jurisdiction over anything then, He is and can be the only judge. In absolute terms, one person does not have jurisdiction over another. This only happens in man’s world, but not in God’s creation. All that is, is God’s; no one can be judge of what is not theirs.
All of us coexist within God’s creation and must cooperate towards His ultimate good. Therefore, we are to love God First and one another second and in order to be in good order we must be forgiving for the ultimate good and order of all.
The shortcomings we are all carrying and observe in others are to teach us and give us experience with and a working knowledge of good and evil and are therefore there and exist for our benefit. They serve an important purpose. We should learn from them without condemning what we have been presented with. Furthermore, no one knows another person’s actual burden nor can another person know in absolute terms the purpose, in spiritual terms, that an individual has been allotted by and through the Wisdom of Divine Providence aside from their mundane activity. Job is the best example of unquestioning faith in God in the face of absolute hopelessness without questioning or retaliating against God.
If one is at peace within the need to have to torment another person through judgment should not arise. By placing God and love for God first, a person cannot not love everything that God created. Even though evil is not to be loved, as such, it should at least be respected as it is tolerated and permitted to exist and in its blindness must still ultimately serve the Creator.
In closing: “It is better to tolerate than be tolerated.”
The Bottom Line
Judgment is an atonement that is ultimately paid in the form of Karma (reaping what we have sown). Unless you are in a position to dispense Karma – you are not in a position to judge. No one can dispense Karma but God therefore only God can judge. Also, we can only be a master over what is ours. Everything, being out of God, can only be subject it’s ultimate Master, therefore, God, being the only ultimate Master of All is the only Judge.
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