You might have looked in the mirror this morning and weren’t satisfied with what you saw. Why weren’t you? There’s a better than good chance you made a judgment based on some message that has subliminally programmed you to think that you should look a certain way. Have you ever taken note of just how many commercials are directed at you while watching television? Product pushers have no qualms about telling you how to make yourself the most appealing human being on planet earth: how your hair should look, your skin, your face. They even delve into intimate subjects, by telling you what products you should use to ramp up your love life. The bottom line seems to be that if you don’t use these products, there’s something askew; you can in no way live a fulfilling life. I wonder what people did before all these life-altering products hit the market? And so, some over-paid marketing expert equips you with the information necessary for you to quietly, with your inner voice, judge your fitness for presentation to the world.
To live a life without judgment, being judged and judging others is next to impossible. How many times have you passed someone on the street, in the mall and quietly said, “Why in the world is he wearing that?”; “Why would anyone let her out of the house with that on?” I’m using the term “judge“ here; however, I’m not so sure it’s an accurate phrase. Aren’t judges the officers of the court who decide sentencing? There has been an indictment and a decision about guilt before judging occurs. Maybe what we’re doing when we quietly, or boldly pronounce to someone else that John should never force himself into a pair of skinny jeans is indicting. Maybe what were doing is charging John with some socially criminal misdemeanor that he should have had the common sense to not commit?
Why do we judge, oh sorry, I mean indict others, when our attempts at perfection fall at a point where the mark is no where in sight? Could it be that we’re insecure about our own presentation to the world; that we sorely need to ratchet others a few rungs downward, so we’ll be on top; that we’re just mean at heart? It’s probably all the above and a few more to be honest. Why instead, do we not let compliments and praise flow freely from our very soul, elevating each other to points of joy and happiness. Most people we meet need a little charge of positivity in their lives. Truth be known, so do we. Knowing that we do, should be enough to put us in the frame of mind of being the continual encourager. But instead, many of us carry around a mixed bag of negativity, waiting to freely shower petals of discouragement on that person who dared to wear polka dots, stripes and plaids together.
I was sitting in a Sunday school class recently, listening to the facilitator discuss Jesus’ indictment of the religious leaders during His time on earth. He called them hypocrites. This was a harsh characterization Jesus used to describe the religious leaders, whose job it was to serve and encourage. Listening intently, I couldn’t help but feel strongly that I should never stand in front of the mirror whenever I think or talk about the word hypocrite. How could I objectively think about the word “hypocrite” without feeling a sense of self indictment? The late Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN (the Catholic TV Network) told a story once of a conversation she had, as she tried to evangelize a man. The man was resistant about coming to church. His stance was that the place was full of hypocrites. Her retort was that’s okay, come on, one more won’t hurt.
Maybe the answer to the question, “Can life be without judgment?” should be: Probably not, but wouldn’t it be great to try. Don’t we owe each other at least that much?
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.