The prohibition against judging others is something that I at times spend a great deal of energy thinking about. I suppose it goes hand in hand with in injunction to treat others as or even to love others, as one loves themselves. Why? One thing I do know, I hate it when someone thinks that they can read me like a book. I remember an incident many years ago when a friend of mine told me that. Well it changed our relationship, I felt like he put me in a tight fighting box, so the trust factor dropped big time, and I guess the friendship ended, though I don’t think he knew it. Most people have an allergy to being judged. Probably because most judgments are false, or if not that, then fragmentary, only seeing bits and pieces. When judging, the other actually becomes an object, frozen in time, shelved, filled for further reference. I am not saying we cannot make judgments, but I feel that is different than the actual judging of another person. The “other” can never be reduced to being “that”.
People are very complex entities, if not infinite in depth, though that may be true, then at the least they are constantly changing, growing, evolving, or perhaps in some cases de-evolving. In any case people are not objects. Yet, often that is what happens with me. I make people around me props in my play, or pieces on a chess board that need to be moved around so that I can be comfortable. If the pieces don’t move the way I want, then I get anxious, angry, self-righteous…..etc., etc., the whole ugly picture. This is an automatic function. To break that I have to wake up, or become conscious in a different way, that would stop this vicious cycle. Judgments, at least the kind I am talking about, are for the most part reactions, robotic even, stimulus and response, nothing more. It is easier to look at the splinter in another’s eye, than in dealing with my own log, which is blinding me to the truth of those around me.
If I treat others the way I want, then it is obvious that I will struggle in trying not to judge them, box, file, or shelve. I find that it is what I call “constrictions” that gets me in trouble. When people are not at their best, then the flow from their inner richness is cut off, walls are built, and it is easy to reduce people to that state. Some have them more than others. Labeling flows from that. Some labels are vulgar, others demeaning, or cruelly humorous. In any case they are hurtful to those being judged, and perhaps more so for the one doing it. The more judgmental the person the more restricting his or her life becomes, since people tend not to hang around others who don’t accept them. The more people are accepted, the more willing they are to change and grow. Opposition only leads to entrenched ideas and behaviors. Guilt never really works, or if it does, for a short time only.
People are holy, sacramental, icons of God. Anything destructive towards them is what I would call sinful, because in the end all lose out. We are called to love others as ourselves, and not to judge for a reason. It is a wake up call to who we all are as individuals and also the identity of those around us. Like God, the consciousness of men and women and yes children, are not objects but subjects, and it is the least, those which stretch us where, Christ is more fully encountered. We are called to wake up, not sleep walk through life, to break away from the old way of doing things to Christ way, to see his face in the countenance of others. This is not pious sentiment, but something difficult to do. I have not even begun to walk down this path. I take a few steps, then fall back into the trance state of being the center of the universe and everything else objects. Hopefully as I get older, the waking moments will increase for me, as well as for all of us. The old way is not working, has never worked.