Tuesday, June 26, 2007

judge not

I've always thought the verse, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," was kind of harsh. Would God not judge us if we didn't judge? And how do you not judge, at least in thoughts? Thought life control has always been my personal failing; being kind of a goody-two shoes, I generally have the outer part of the trash can spit-shined.

Becoming a parent has made me look at this verse in a different way. Because parenting is all about judgment. And not just the good 'deciding what's best for my child' kind.
Parenting decisions open you to the whole wide world of feeling like everyone is judging you. And the even more fun world of judging everyone else. I rail against people who seem judgmental towards me, but I have to admit, I have those how can they do that? moments myself.
It's too easy to do. I mean, each parenting decision is hard-won. It's so personal. And especially with a first child, those decisions seem to have the rule of law (from what I gather, the second child tends to disprove all the laws).
So when people decide differently than you, it's easy to look down your nose. Well, I didn't do that, you think. Or worse: I wouldn't do that.
It would be better, I think, if those judgment statements were only as sort of a learning place, like, hmmm, that's interesting: I don't think I could handle that particular situation, or wouldn't want those outcomes, or whatever. But too often (for me, anyway) those non-judgmental judgments spill into the man, those people are crazy category. Or worse: the They're Bad/Inept parents category.

Which is really obnoxious of me.

I'd like to come up with a more specific example, but I'm afraid of offending someone.

Anyway, I was feeling judged this morning, and my inner child kept crying out: But I'm doing the best I can.
Isn't that the truth. We're all just doing our best, trying to not mess up too badly.

So back to "Judge not, lest ye be judged. " I'm no biblical/greek scholar, but it occurs to me that the actor in the verse isn't specifically God. It doesn't say who will judge me. Why do I assume it is God?
In fact, I think the point of the verse is more this: when I have a judgmental attitude, I am far more likely to be paranoid about other people holding me up to negative scrutiny. Why wouldn't they, when I'm doing it too?
Letting go of critique--spoken or unspoken--might free me to not care as much what people are thinking.
Oh, Lord, bring me to that place.


Melissa said...

Since you choose not to provide an example, I have no choice but to assume you think I'm a terrible parent. Oh dear.

writermeeg said...

Oh, this is good, Heather. I love how brave you are with putting your inner thoughts and questions out there! This is such a hard lesson, and one I'm working on, too. I try to read often Buddhist thoughts on letting go of judgments. Then I judge. Then I read again...

Heather said...

Yes, Melissa, I judge you all the time. I'm judging you right now.
And Megan: thanks! I think if the great thinkers/religious leaders want us to do what they say they should make the bar a little lower! Like, _trying_ should be enough! I mean, how are we supposed to actually _change_ how we act or think?