We all know judgmental people. Perhaps the judgmental person is even our self. Have you ever noticed that judgmental people often seem unhappy? There’s a good reason for that — people who judge others, are often lacking something in themselves.
I think its fair to say that we are all judgmental to some degree and its probably human nature. Yet, while it may be our nature to judge others, it’s typically more harmful than helpful, because it’s actually quite cruel and causes deep rifts between people.
Being judgmental seems to kind of just happen — we see someone and we observe how they’re dressed, or how they look and almost instinctively, we pass a judgement –“if she’s going to wear that, she should really go on a diet.” Maybe “she” should…but that’s not for us to say. Perhaps that “she” is happy and content and feels good about herself and what she’s wearing…what harm is she doing? None.
“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” ―
The story of the dirty laundry is a great tale of why judging others is disadvantageous:
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry, the young woman made the same comments: “It’s a shame her mother never taught her how to do laundry. Do you think her machine is broken? Maybe she is not using enough bleach.”
A month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband, “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”
The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.
So don’t be too quick to judge others, especially if your perspective of life is clouded by anger, jealousy, negativity or unfulfilled desires.
— Author unknown
“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” – Unknown
How Do We Stop Being Judgmental
I think the first step in not harshly judging others is admitting it’s a problem. Realistically, I don’t think we can stop judging completely, but there are levels of judgement. We are taught to not condemn others, but we are also taught that we need to be able to judge evil vs. good — meaning that we need to be able to recognize the difference between something or someone who is truly evil, like Adolf Hitler, vs. something or someone that is merely different from ourselves. In other words, we must never accept or condone evil, but if for example we see a man covered in tattoos from head to toe, while that may not be something we would chose for our self, it’s his body and what harm has he done? Why should it bother us?
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37
God doesn’t judge on outward appearance, but on the heart — what a person truly has and feels inside. This is probably the best course for us to take as well. When we realize that we’re about to judge a person, we should be mindful and catch ourselves before we say or write something hurtful — consider inner beauty first and recognize that we don’t know their story and thus, cannot know what their life experience is and how that impacts the way they look, what they wear, etc.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Being less judgemental takes time, but it’s very well worth the effort. I believe that most of us truly want to be loving and kind and the more we let that inner desire shine through, the less judgmental we will become.
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” – Romans 2:1-3