Judgment – something that despite religious tenants we are told not to do, we do anyway on a daily basis. Judging is an automatic reaction that has helped us; it’s a survival mechanism.
I’m not saying that we should completely refrain from judging people altogether, but rather take those initial impressions for what they are, being the reactions that have kept us from danger in the past, and be willing to move past them. The old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” holds true; it’s far better to read the thing and then make your assessment.
I can honestly say that if I’d allowed my first reactions to some of the people that I’ve met in the Society for Creative Anachronism (a living history group that focuses on the pre-1600s) keep me from getting to know them, then I would definitely have missed out on a fount of knowledge, and worse yet completely awesome friendships. In these instances, I paid attention to not how the person looked or was dressed, but to how others spoke of them and the deeds that I saw them perform first hand.
Judge a person by deeds not words. How many Christians have you seen or known that have preached one thing and yet practiced another? The Christianity that I grew up in taught tolerance and acceptance of other’s and their differences. Now, as a college senior, I have seen a “Preacher Bob” lecturing students and condemning them for taking part in Greek activities, dressing a certain way, or implying that all of us are voraciously promiscuous in our sexual exploits, or worse yet holding beliefs that were different from his own.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “Preacher Bob” persona it is a person (all the ones that have come to my campus have at least always been male) that often touts the same beliefs as the extreme right-wing Christian view, and even scarier sometimes the Moral Right as well. Rumors have abounded that this individual is simply a Psychology student/grad student/professor that is collecting data for a paper. While this may or may not be true in some instances, there is still judgment involved in the process, whether made to incite reaction or not.
The example of Christianity that I grew up with was one of tolerance and acceptance of all humanity for who they were, not who I wanted them to be. Condemnation and fire-and-brimstone-scare-them-into-my-way-of-thinking has never appealed to me, or to anyone that I know. The Christian bible calls us to refrain from judging, because that is ultimately left up to God. I interpret this to mean, that it’s okay to judge, but you should accept that someone will be different from you, and be willing to take their worth by looking at their deeds and actions, not the clothes on their back, the color of their hair, the jewelry around their neck, or even the words that they say. Examine them based on their actions to determine their worth as a person.
This I believe.
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