From the Archives: Who to Judge

This week, August 12-16, I’ll be standing trial for fraud in Florida, and thus unable to bring you new words each day. In the meantime, please enjoy reposts of some of my best work. I’ll return Monday after these absurd charges have been rebuffed. Please do not hesitate to send me money in any amount, and it will help you more than it does me, and it shouldn’t need to be restated that the greater the amount, the greater the help to you will be.

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“Judge not, lest ye be judged.” said somebody not important enough to warrant credit whenever this ideal is stated. And stated it is, frequently in modern day, despite its being something like 2,000 years old.JudgingJohn

  We can all see the logic in the idea. Nobody is perfect. To look our fellows and shake our heads at their flaws is to guarantee our status as hypocrites, when the time comes to exhibit our own defects of character, and soon we all do.

  What is largely unstated, however, and innately understood, is that this (definitely true) idea functions in degrees.

  Example: If our neighbor is observed to be at loud conflict with his wife and children, complete with screaming matches and clothes strewn on the lawn. Sometimes the clothes are set afire. We might say, “Boy, Jim’s not a very good husband.” Soon though, perhaps our own spouse commences to drink to excess daily, while our daughter simultaneously becomes an active participant in a local crime-based motorcycle club. Would our interactions with them remain always cordial and reserved? One would have to be superhuman to pull off such a task.

  But let’s imagine a different situation for Jim. Imagine Jim has a loud, raucous party for many days in a row, audible from our own house. Upon investigating, we learn that Jim has paid for the celebration by selling his own children to the aforementioned motorcycle club, and is free to continue it for so long because his wife seems to have disappeared as well. Later, it is revealed that Jim murdered his wife, and served her as steak tips at the party.

  What do we possibly have to lose by judging Jim’s actions in this situation? Nothing. We haven’t done, nor will we do, anything that approaches Jim’s pimping, murder, and cannibalism. Thus, anyone who would advise us from the judge-not-lest- perspective would appear ridiculous.

  So, if we learn where the boundaries of our own evil lay, we can be free to disdain, malign, label, and pass judgment on all of our fellow men, knowing the situations where we are safe to do so. We can even pick and choose. We may outline Jim’s crimes as stated above, but leave aside his blackout drunkenness and accidental driving on his lawn, remembering our own behavior on Memorial Day. Or something similar.

Power Words:

Today I will look at my life honestly, and see how I am like those whose actions I judge. But I will also see what I have not done, and be able to know who I am safe to judge, blame and label as a demon.

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