July 5, 2018
Imagine your having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine your having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine your being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone’s behavior. Imagine that you could say: “I am judging no one!” —Henri J. M. Nouwen in Here and Now
When I read those words, I can actually feel myself relax. Mentally, emotionally – even physically.
The “2nd Injunction” in Brugh Joy’s book, Joy’s Way, is “Make. No. Judgments.”
Just like making comparisons, judging seems almost ingrained in most of us. For me, judging and comparing seem to go hand-in-hand, and it is absolutely delightful to let go of the need to engage in them.
One of my least favorite phrases is “constructive criticism.” To me it is often a cover for plain old judging. People sometimes ask for support and/or feedback – in editing a document or planning a speech, for instance. They might ask their doctor for better health ideas and practices. Or they might ask their counselor how to more constructively handle their emotions. We might ask a close friend to gently tell us a hard truth we need to hear.
But “constructive criticism,” more often than not, comes from the incessant judging mind – and is often not asked for. And it can be about constantly evaluating other people’s appearances, behaviors, choices, words, etc.
Imagine living a life free from that exhausting practice. Imagine living a life loving what is, a life free from the compulsion to criticize, judge, condemn, retaliate. I feel lighter just imagining it! How about you?
Ram Dass in One-Liners said: “Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.