Some people go to great lengths to judge others for the sheer sense of accomplishment it engenders (if you’re of a certain mindset). Such folks may have the gall to speak directly to individuals about what they’re “doing wrong,” or even indicate they need details before they can agree the other person really is unwell instead of just making excuses yet again:
- So what exactly is wrong with you? Everyone has tummy problems now and then.
- I’m just pointing out that gaping hole in your roof is still there after all these months.
- You should stop wearing that outfit. It’s so unflattering.
- If you were a better father, your kids wouldn’t be doing drugs.
- If you’d stay home once in a while, your kids wouldn’t have to come home to an empty house.
On the other hand, they may be afraid of confrontation, and so gossip instead:
- I’ve told everybody I saw him playing golf on Victory Boulevard after church. That’s not how you keep the Sabbath day holy!
- Well, I wouldn’t normally say ANYthing but that same guy’s car is parked at her house almost every evening. What a floozy!
- Someone said they went to high school together but he hasn’t made anything of himself. She’d be better off with that lawyer fella, the one whose wife divorced him.
We might not say anything out loud but the way we behave may be judgment itself. It can be difficult to sit next to someone who may smell a little different, but maybe we stick it out for an hour with tissue held to our nose, or maybe we move to a different seat. Assuming a stranger doesn’t actually try to touch us, regardless of their personal hygiene, it’s a judgment call on our part. Even a disapproving look from us can scuttle someone else’s self-esteem or their willingness to give our group another chance.
If we honestly feel the need to pass judgment on someone, we could look at our own faults, as perceived by others if we don’t think we have any. We could do a double-take at our own appearance before leaving the house. And yes, there’ll be plenty of times we can’t do anything about how we look. We woke up too late to wash our hair or iron a different shirt because we were run ragged the day before. We made a judgment call about ourselves and kept our appointment anyway.
We make judgment calls all day long, especially when behind the wheel. Our lives and the lives of other people depend on those judgment calls, and we’d better be alert and correct!
Outside of that, we don’t have the right to give offense every time we open our mouths. We just don’t. It’s not always the fault of those who take offense. When we’re just emitting spite and self-righteous accusations, the fault is ours. Judging others may be satisfying to troubled, insecure egos but outside of a courtroom or saving someone’s life, it has no place in the Judeo-Christian environment and certainly none in any other formal field of belief.
Perhaps our mothers were right, after all, when they told us: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”