Judgment. A simple word one can use to describe the act of passing stereotypical thoughts and feelings toward an individual or groups of people. Unfortunately, this act happens each and every day and everyone is guilty of it at some time or another — thinking less of people because of past decisions they have made, the people they hang around, or even the clothes they wear or the style of their hair — all happening within the first three seconds of knowing them. Is it right? No.
Do we know it’s wrong? Yes. Does it continue to happen? Of course. I myself have been guilty of this act of passing judgment too many times to recollect, and struggle with it. Why do we as humans do this to each other? Simply for the reason of survival I suppose.
From the beginning of time, we had to not only pay attention to our surroundings, but also know when we were in the company of a predator — someone or something that posed potential harm or even death. We did not have the luxury of someone telling us we were in danger. We had several indicators but mainly appearances and the way these creatures carried themselves; something that could be considered judgment. But I ask you this: How did this prehistoric system of survival evolve into the sad routine it has become today?
Since childhood, I have been pounded with advice and guidelines to follow when watching my own back. Rules of thumb have been embedded in me, which I live by today when meeting new people or being thrown into unfamiliar situations. But, in today’s growing liberal society, I believe that my generation does not have the luxury of living by the same standards that worked so well years before.
I also believe the bible tells us that we are not to be anyone’s judge and that we are not to condemn other people; this is between the person and the man upstairs. But, when does this open-heart-open-mind action towards embracing everyone turn into mere stupidity?
Can we forget past mistakes, have a good time with people wearing certain things that make us cringe, or continue to be someone’s comrade even though other people in the community will surely pass judgment on us for being in their company? Is this impossible because it is against our nature? This I have no answer. Is there truth behind the old saying that you are the company you keep? Is it not possible to be someone’s friend and not commit their same mistakes however severe those might be?
Maybe it will take a group of certain people enjoying each other’s company that don’t have the same standards of life to prove it can happen. Maybe this will affect these people positively in their lives and also act as a learning tool for us.
I leave today a lot of unanswered questions and I’m afraid the answer will come only with personal experience. Mistakes will be made but so will friends. If you personally would like everyone to give you an equal chance and fresh start — judgment-free — return the favor. Remember this next time you look at someone and your instinct tells you to judge. This judgment-free lifestyle will not only broaden your small town horizons but more importantly warm the heart of God … and in my book he’s pretty important. Wouldn’t you agree?
— Paige Barnes