Two Kinds of Judgment
A cartoon in the New Yorker has a couple sitting across one another over cocktails. The man says to the woman: “Candice, your eyes are like two crystal-blue pools of habitual judgment.”
A couple of millenniums ago an ancient sage said: “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?”
There are two kinds of judgment. One is condemning another to-hell-or-wherever because you don’t like what they think, say, or do. Condemnation, temporal and/or eternal, characterizes this mindset. It is negative, pejorative, and culpatory.
The other kind of judgment is analytical and evaluative. It is an assessment of a person’s mentality and actions in order to make prudent human decisions. Even if an appraisal leads to the conclusion that another’s speech and/or activities are dangerous or harmful, an appropriate response can be accomplished without denigrating and vilifying the individual.
Take, for instance, a convicted child sex offender. Discernment would preclude hiring said person as a day care worker. Yet the individual could also be looked upon as a fellow human being who needs affirmation and care, albeit within set parameters.
The sad recognition is that the lion’s share of the time humans exhibit the kind of judgment that is vitriolic, sanctimonious, and vindictive . . . a condemnation that cares nothing for the condemned except that he or she is punished or eliminated.
Of course, judicious decisions need to be made. Condemning one another to hell is not one of them.