Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On the Judgment Seat

One thing I have noticed with today's society is that everybody is a self-appointed judge.

I read the editorials in the paper; they are filled with judgment.

Facebook.  Oh, Facebook.  Pictures of those arrested (who haven't even had a trial yet) flash across status updates.  Political and religion (or lack of) opinions posted...not that the opinions in and of themselves are judgmental but the comments that follow are.

TV shows. American Idol. America's Got Talent.  Dancing with the Stars.  Chopped.  All have judgment at their very core.

And then there is just the judgment of the public.  The evil eye.  The snide comments.  The pointed fingers.

It isn't that judgment is new.

I just think it is more "out there".  More acceptable.  Even easier.  With the "anonymity" of the Internet, everyone can be a judge.

The problem?

We forget.

There are people at the end of our pointed fingers.

There are circumstances we can't see or don't know.

That we are ourselves not perfect and in NO place to judge others.

I really believe there is only ONE qualified to judge, and He is reigning above.

The rest of us?

Not so much. 

I was called to be on jury duty late spring.

My husband laughed when he found out.

He knows.

Judging others is not my thing.

Don't get me wrong.  I have those occasional lapses when I see a child standing in a car seat while driving...the flash judgment comes to mind.  Or I read an editorial that goes completely against everything I believe. For a brief moment, there is that sense of judgment, that feeling of "I am right, you are wrong".

But overall, and especially when given time to think and process, I don't judge.

I am not perfect.

Not at all.

I know, I know, don't be shocked. :)

I would love to be and one day will (by HIS grace only).

But for now I am living in this imperfect body and mind of mine.

I have never felt like God rated sins, so why should I? No, I don't smoke or drink or live a "wild life".  But I have my own sins, my own struggles, my own "devils" in my life.  I am certainly in no position to judge another.  (Though if I had been called and required to serve, I would have done my best, prayed a lot for wisdom, and gotten through it)

In my profession, I see some difficult situations. 

I know in my early days, I couldn't understand, couldn't fathom many of the situations I saw.

So I judged.

I mean, I was the "expert".

I knew how children were supposed to be raised. I knew what their needs were.  I knew it all...didn't I?

Now, nearly 20 years later, I look at things...and people...differently.

I know that sometimes you can do all you know to do and your children will still not make the right choices.  I know that sometimes parents are not equipped with the background or wisdom to have healthy relationships much less foster them in their own children.  I know that we all view things differently.  Some situations I deem as dangerous, others wouldn't. And vice versa. 

I am not saying that is a license for ANYONE to treat another human being (particularly a child) badly.  And for those who cannot control themselves whether it is with abuse, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc, consequences and "fixes" must be in place to protect themselves and those around them.

I am also not saying that there are no "absolutes" in life.  Some things are wrong.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

What I am saying is we need to stop.

Stop the judgment. (Unless of course it is your career...a judge...then judgment is a necessary thing)

We need to look outside ourselves, our lives, our realities, into the lives and realities of other people.

We need to empathize, truly feel for those who are making (what we consider anyway) poor choices in life.

We need to lend a helping hand when needed or requested.

We need to pray for others.  In fact, I try to make a point:  If one of those "flash judgments" comes to mind, I try to stop and instead pray.  Pray for both the person/situation and myself.

We need to remember that "plank" in our own eyes rather than focusing on the "speck" in someone else's.

We need to quit generalizing.  One of the message boards I am on is apparently made up of a lot of homeschooling families.  I respect that. What I don't respect is that if one mentions a poor experience with a school, the whole board turns into a "teacher/education" bashing board.  It isn't fair to judge all teachers based upon the actions of one teacher.  Nor is it fair to judge all lawyers, all police officers, all doctors, etc based upon one person's errors.

No matter which side we stand on politically, we need to remember that their are other opinions.  You can feel passionate about yours but the likelihood of you changing someone else's is pretty slim (especially when using criticism and hateful remarks about the other party).

We need to remember that there are people behind the computer.  It is easy to see a news story and go on a "rant" about it. But there is a person behind that story.  (Not to mention, the media is not ALWAYS an unbiased source...big shock I know)

We need to walk away from judgmental situations.  That may mean limiting time on FB, not getting sucked into an argument (which is different from a good honest discussion over an issue), and sometimes standing up for those who are not there to defend themselves.  

We need to spend a lot more time loving others, not judging them.

I do believe we will all be held accountable one day for the things that we do, both good and bad.

And I do believe it will be a righteous God who makes those judgments, not an imperfect human.

I am glad for that, aren't you?

More soon,

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