What is it about that we feel we have to take an event, a personality, a discussion and in our minds and with others make a judgment on it? I am mainly concerned about our propensity to make false judgments which says more about us that about someone or something else.
For example, the famous saying that goes something like this: when we point at someone, three fingers are pointing back at us. We can learn a lot about false judgment when looking back at history. Let’s look at a few examples.
A six-year-old lad came home from school with a note from his teacher. The teacher had judged the little boy and decided he should be taken out of school. She thought he was no good. He was too stupid to learn. That boy was Thomas Alva Edison.
Alfred Tennyson’s grandfather gave him 10 shillings for writing a eulogy for his grandmother. Handing it to the lad, the old man said, “Well, from what I can judge from your writing, this is the first money you have ever made for your poetry and it will certainly be the last.”
Benjamin Franklin’s mother-in-law hesitated to let her daughter marry a printer. There were already two printing offices in the United States , and she judged that the country might not be able to support a third one.
In 1933, a book was published which contained one of the biggest misjudgments in history. In this book, Dorothy Thompson related that it took her just 50 seconds to size up Adolph Hitler. She said he would never become the dictator of Germany. “He is a nobody, and will never amount to anything,” she said.
In 1865, the Chicago Times judged Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. They said, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, dishwatery utterances of a man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.”
Can you just imagine how society, and we as individuals have judged and done so mistakenly. Even Daniel Webster doubted the ultimate success of American railroads and expressed those feeling over and over. . He wrote down his judgment that a train would never get moving on rails. If it did move, if there were frost on the tracks, it could never come to a stop.
In 1865, in Concord, Massachusetts (the home of Thoreau), they banned “Huckleberry Finn.” The very smart people of the town judged it as trash suitable only for the slums. In 1929, Russia blacklisted “Sherlock Holmes” for its disgraceful conduct in writing. They said it should never be on the shelves of our good homes.
Well, I think you get the point. History itself much less us humans have misjudged people and things down through the ages.
Whenever we jump to a conclusion and judge, probably falsely about someone or something and hold on to that judgment, we are saying, “Mine is the only opinion that counts.” Is it? Is your opinion the only one or THE one that counts? Most of us think so. Most of us never think we could be wrong about a judgment we make.
Remember the scripture, , “Not my will, but thine be done.” Imagine if we transferred this to judgment. Not my judgment, but, God, Your judgment be done.
We are going to be brave enough to go inside our own minds and look anew as if for the first time. Rediscovering that some of these verdicts we have handed down on people and situations may be wrong, we become willing to turn those around today.
C.R. Hembry wrote this:
I Dreamed of Heaven
I dreamed death came the other night
And heaven’s gates swung wide.
With kindly grace, an angel ushered me inside.
And there to my astonishment
Stood folks that I had known on earth.
Some I judged unfit, of little worth.
Indignant words rose to my lips
But never were set free.
For every face showed stunned surprise.
No one had expected me.
Michelangelo. He went to a rock quarry looking for a
certain big piece of rock. He got it, but the person who owned the quarry
said, “No, you don’t want that piece of rock; it’s no good. It is not worth anything.”
Michelangelo said, “Well, if that is the case, I want a discount.” He got
When he took the rock home, those he passed said, “You can’t do anything with that piece of stone.”
He said, “You judged wrong. There is an angel trapped in that stone.”
They looked at it and walked around it. They said, “There is no angel in
there; that is a piece of rock.”
He said, “You wait and see.” He brought the angel forth from the stone
that no one else wanted.
I think about that a lot when I am tempted to judge someone I might not like in the moment. I see that person and in my mind, I walk around them and I say, “You know, this is just an old piece of rock.”
Then the voice inside of me says, “Oh no, there is an angel trapped in there.” I may be the only one who can let her out IF I so choose. If I do,inside my mind, there will be a masterpiece.
For centuries, we believed the earth revolved around the sun because that is the way it looked to our eyes. We had to have proof as a society that this was not the case. We stand still and everything revolves around us, yet to our eyes, it looks quite different. To societies, through eons of time, it looks different.
When we realize this, we realize most of our world is not visible to our eyes, audible to our ears, or to our touch. The fact is most of the universe exists not in a three-dimensional world, but exists way beyond our physical senses. This is exactly where the things that matter most in your own life exist in your spiritual journey on this dawn of a new day.
So, since what matters most often exists beyond our physical senses, where is the objectivity? Where is the love and kindness – it is beyond our three-dimensional awareness. And where is God in this equation? God is also beyond our three-dimensional world. Everything of importance is way beyond what we can see. When we judge another, it is often like putting blinders on. We cannot see or understand the whole person. We see only what we choose to see, even if it is false. We must learn to expand our view to see the real person; we must take off our blinders. Then and only then can we see the whole person.
In society today we judge and judge and judge. Our liberties tell us that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but we falsely judge and accuse on a regular basis. Think about this. When there needs to be a decision made about the actions of another, we then watch the unfolding of false judgments in the media (trial by media). We all, the world, becomes the jury and depending on the slant – and believe me the media always has their slant – we all yell – “GUILTY!” Court TV and the talk programs and once again we are all the judge and jury . There is a show on tv where family fights are common place. It is the whole object of the show. There are even fights in the audience We become the judges and the critics. We condemn, falsely. How many people in scripture are condemned falsely by crowds bent on judging – regardless of truth. It is like people that slow down while driving to see an accident. Even though they’re revolted by the appearances, they cannot help themselves but be attracted to it. And then we develop our judgment by what the accident appears to be – even though we do not know anything about the drivers or the passengers.
Instead of being a critic, we need to become a coach. Say, “Now, you may have not done that correctly, but you can do better next time. If you go with God, everything is going to be OK.” In others’ lives, we become a judge by becoming a whiner, sniper, and manipulator.
In the Bible, Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus says. Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
We know God is love. God is not sitting here with a tally sheet on you. God is loving you. So what judged you in the moment? When you judge another, you say more about you than you do about the person you judge.
Jesus continues talking: Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to(your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbors eye. This shows in scripture that the problem is with the one who judges, not the one being judged. When you are not using righteous judgment, you have not taken the time; you have just come to a fast conclusion.
A special speaker came to a church; he stumbled all over himself in his
talk. His thoughts were disconnected. It just was not a great lesson. One
of the members said, “I don’t think this man should have been allowed to
talk to us. I think it is a disgrace that our time was taken for this man
to talk to us. This is terrible and I am going to complain. I am going to
the powers that be and I am going to say, ‘Don’t you bring us any person
like this anymore, because this was just a lousy talk.'” He said this in
the hallway so everyone could hear him voice his judgment, his opinion,
and what he was going to do to fix the man and the situation.
He was then told, gently and with love, “This man cared so much for us
that he came in to speak, even thought that very morning he had been told his son had been killed in a traffic accident. He cared so much for us and he had so much love for us that he wanted to be there, even if he could hardly even stand up. He wanted to be there and to give to us.”
That changed that man’s life, forever away from false judgments. He said,
“From now on, I am going to know the facts. “I am going to know what I am talking about, before anything comes out of this mouth; and hopefully, before any opinion forms in my mind.”
It has been said, “What you do not see correctly with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.”
Another old saying is, “There is no need to burn down the barn to kill some fleas.” Many times, we have just a few things we do not like about a person and then we just set fire to the entire concept.
As children, we judge everything to be our parent’s fault. We blame it on our parents. Later in life, we blame it on others. It is their fault. Yet, it goes back to Jesus Christ’s words about the judging person taking responsibility. We have to look in the mirror and say, “Wait a minute, I am going to take the log out of my eye so I can see clearly.”
A critic is someone who thinks they know the way, but can’t drive the car.
For those judgments you have made in the past, here is what I am going to ask you to do: visualize, in prayer, the opposite of the judgment. In other words, open the file, even if you have to get a strong glue remover. You know the ones you have judged in the past. I am asking you to be brave enough to walk the walk, talk the talk, and to take action. Open up these files and look again. This time, instead of saying, “I was right,” say to yourself, “No, this is not the way it is and I am going to visualize the
opposite.” What if you say that to yourself and then you see yourself making the absolute right judgment?
Remember, God first. You are agreeing to go the extra mile and with God’s help, with God’s teamwork, with God’s partnership, you are going to love this person. The higher your opinions of others-the higher your opinion of yourself. The higher your opinion of yourself, the higher your opinion and your knowledge of God, the Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Look beyond the obvious; take off your blinders.
Follow that footstep and see the good; see the angel inside the rock!