Essay number nineteen: by The Midnight Writer
Our insatiable appetite for labels can wreak havoc upon the world. We love to place labels on everything and then judge the world according to the labels in which we believe.
What if I saw within me all of the labels that I have been applying to others? Should I stop judging others if I understood that the judgment I made applied equally to me? I am familiar with the saying, “There but by the grace of God go I.” One part of me says that it is wrong to judge others and yet another part of me says I have no choice. We must judge others if we are to live in a civilized society.
Some of our assumptions are obviously correct and of no harm. There is nothing wrong with looking at someone and stating the obvious. They help us to identify each other. Is a person clean or filthy? But if a person is filthy does that mean that they are always filthy? Perhaps that person is a very clean person who just happens to be filthy at that moment.
I have arrived at a conclusion about judgment that satisfies me. We should judge others by their thoughts and actions. It should not be who they are but rather what they choose to be and how they choose to behave. A good example would be a parent punishing their child for bad behavior. That judgment would have no effect on their love for the child.
The phrase “Judge not least you be judged” means that as you judge others you are judging yourself with equal veracity. I promise you that you are guilty, in thought if not in deed; of the same things you are judging others for doing. It is the experiences we have had and the moral guidance we received in our lives that determine how we react to a given situation.
The main difference seems to be whose voice is controlling us. Is it the angel on our right shoulder or the demon on our left shoulder? We cannot ignore the need to punish someone for bad behavior but that should be tempered with a loving desire to educate and rehabilitate.