Judgement and judging.
The Bible says an awful lot about those things.
Sometimes we are told to judge; other times we are commanded not to judge.
There is such a thing as righteous judgment. There is such a thing as discernment. We can rightly see certain situations and circumstances and justly judge them wrong.
Nathan saw what David had done regarding Bathsheba and Uriah. And directed by God, the prophet told him, You are the man. There was no way to soft peddle it; there was no way to justify. Samuel’s judgment was righteous, justified, needed, and true.
My long time friend and college roommate, John Dobbs, refers to the phenomenon of piling on to somebody when they are down as a “monkey pile.”
That’s a kind of judgment that is more about condemnation. And most of us are good at it.
In the South we have a genteel way of doing that.
“She/ he has some pretty bad problems and consistently makes horrible choices… bless her/ his heart.”
Translation? She/ he is dumb as a rock and stupid too. And probably deserves whatever she/ he gets.
That “bless her heart” bit? Somehow that is supposed to make it ok for judgment and even condemnation.
I think “Monkey Pile” is an adequate description of judging hearts. As one who has experienced the very uncomfortable feeling of having every action and reaction judged and found wanting, and condemned too–as one who has been guilty of doing the same thing to others, bless their little hearts… we need to recognize that while calling wrong things wrong, most of our judging and condemnation is reserved for people whose shoes we would never choose to walk in.
While we may think we know what’s in another person’s heart, the reality is, unless we are experiencing the exact same thing from the exact same framework, we haven’t a clue.
Really. We don’t.
We may think we have a good idea.
We may be the best emphasizer in the world with an empathy that is off the charts, but the truth is, we cannot know.
And because we cannot know all the reasons and rationals involved in all of the mistakes, missteps… because we cannot really and truly understand the heart and motive behind the things we don’t always approve of, we need to be less judgmental and more compassionate.
Unless of course you want to trade places with them?
Yeah. I didn’t figure you wanted to any more than me.
I know sin is sin; wrong is wrong.
I know that.
I understand that.
I recognize that.
You do too.
But even when it involves sin, a little less condemnation, a little more mercy, grace, and compassion goes an awful long way to helping the hurting, strengthening the struggling, and restoring the fallen.
“Bless Her Heart?” Chances are, we need just as much blessing or more.
So before you judge or condemn, ask yourself what you would want if walking in the same shoes…
Where have you experienced judgment/ condemnation when you really needed mercy, grace, and compassion?
Les Ferguson, Jr.