Judgement

Milfoil

It's such a good tenet to live by, judge not lest ye be judged I think the Bible says. Every spiritual system of belief on the planet also seems to hold the same concept and to a greater extent I understand and believe the same.

However, thinking about it, when someone repeatedly damages their own chances, makes the same mistakes which end up hurting them (and sometimes those around them), or their behaviour separates them from others, is it being judgemental to try to find a way in which to gently show that person a different way?

There are lots of TV shows/sitcoms that address these kinds of dilemas and in TV world, people face their friends with the truth and after a few laughs and scenes of indignant conversation, everyone walks away friends again but somehow better. The trouble is, in real life, people are way too complex and often blinkered to their own problems for this to be true. People react badly, violently and relationships break down.

Can we ever be truly non-judgemental or are we all kidding ourselves that when we discern someone else's issues and say or do nothing, that we are being non-judgemental and, therefore, better or more spiritual? Is it helpful for a community to be this way?

Perhaps there is a difference between judgement (ie passing judgement where a superior attitude is adopted but doing nothing about it) and loving discernment?

Of course, it is fruitless and counter productive to just go telling someone, without warning, that they shouldn't do this or that but when the right opportunity arises, they ask, their crisis and pain pull at your compassion, is it still judgmental to hold up that mirror?
 

BodhiSeed

Perhaps there is a difference between judgement (ie passing judgement where a superior attitude is adopted but doing nothing about it) and loving discernment?
Judgment is a label I put on someone else; discernment is something I do for myself. If a person's behavior impacts my life in some way, I need to be discerning and protect myself and those I care about. I need to take action myself, not just brand them as this or that. I can forgive them too, but that doesn't mean I have to trust them again or invite them home to supper.
Of course, it is fruitless and counter productive to just go telling someone, without warning, that they shouldn't do this or that but when the right opportunity arises, they ask, their crisis and pain pull at your compassion, is it still judgmental to hold up that mirror?
If they ask, I will tell them what I see. A while back, a friend who had been in an abusive relationship (which was steadily growing more dangerous) asked me for my input. After we talked, she told me I was like a burn nurse who had to scrub off the dead skin of her burnt flesh - very painful, but necessary. The thing is, she knows I had no ulterior motive for what I said, other than my love for her and her safety.
 

tarotbear

Judgment is a label I put on someone else; discernment is something I do for myself. If a person's behavior impacts my life in some way, I need to be discerning and protect myself and those I care about. I need to take action myself, not just brand them as this or that. I can forgive them too, but that doesn't mean I have to trust them again or invite them home to supper.

Milfoil - I was about to ask if there is a difference between Judgement and Decision-making - but Bodhiseed answered this a little more succinctly than I can manage early on a Monday morning! Every decision we make is a judgement of some type - what store to shop, which gas to buy, who do we not wish to speak with.
 

Milfoil

Thank you both. It seems clear that we have to make decisions in life, as you say tarotbear, such as what to wear, where to shop etc and these decisions tend to relate to mundane concerns but a judgement seems to be on a different level, offering a final assessment of a person or situation after assessing evidence or based upon existant beliefs. The two overlap and both can be honest but sometimes they are biased and deliberately wounding.

I am wondering if it is this bias which is the basis of the problem rather than making decisions in themselves and as such labelling someone as judgemental is, in itself a judgement which is intrinsically flawed unless we know the true basis of their comment.

What seems to be happening in some circles (spiritual groups) is that judgement is being confused with discerning and necessary action and this is leading to concern within the group, people leaving and the problem not being addressed because nobody wants to be seen as the judgemental 'bad guy'. Also it is easy to condemn someone as being judgemental when really are just being honest and so divisions grow.

Once, a friend of my husband asked a sort of light hearted, rhetorical question while we were out one night. He said "why does this keep happening to me?" The clear and obvious response was that he kept smothering anyone who went out with him to the point that he became jealous, needy and whiney but the friend who hinted at this was then demonised by some of the others (behind his back) that he was being judgemental and cruel. The thing is, if they had all been comfortable enough with each other to discuss this properly, then the guy might now be in a stable relationship. As it is, he saw the comment as cruel and judgement and the two are no longer friends (he also is no nearer to finding a long-term life partner either!). So which is more cruel?
 

SunChariot

It's such a good tenet to live by, judge not lest ye be judged I think the Bible says. Every spiritual system of belief on the planet also seems to hold the same concept and to a greater extent I understand and believe the same.

However, thinking about it, when someone repeatedly damages their own chances, makes the same mistakes which end up hurting them (and sometimes those around them), or their behaviour separates them from others, is it being judgemental to try to find a way in which to gently show that person a different way?

There are lots of TV shows/sitcoms that address these kinds of dilemas and in TV world, people face their friends with the truth and after a few laughs and scenes of indignant conversation, everyone walks away friends again but somehow better. The trouble is, in real life, people are way too complex and often blinkered to their own problems for this to be true. People react badly, violently and relationships break down.

Can we ever be truly non-judgemental or are we all kidding ourselves that when we discern someone else's issues and say or do nothing, that we are being non-judgemental and, therefore, better or more spiritual? Is it helpful for a community to be this way?

Perhaps there is a difference between judgement (ie passing judgement where a superior attitude is adopted but doing nothing about it) and loving discernment?

Of course, it is fruitless and counter productive to just go telling someone, without warning, that they shouldn't do this or that but when the right opportunity arises, they ask, their crisis and pain pull at your compassion, is it still judgmental to hold up that mirror?

It IS a good concept to live by. If someone is continually hurting themselves of others no I do not believe it is judgmental to gently offer help. At least it does not necessarily have to be. It depends on what is going on inside the helping person,

If you see someone continiually in pain or hurting others, I would think it is safe to assume this is not bringing the person joy. It is a problem for them. if you see this and feel connected to this person and at one with them and see them as a human being struggling in some areas and trying to work life out just like we all are. And feel empathy for where they are and want to help from that place. That is not judgmental. Judgment says you are different. Love says we are the same.

Of course if you see someone continually in pain or hurting others, and you think I need to help this person as they don't know how to live right. Yeah, bigtime judgmental.

The act of wanting to help or of actually helping is not judgmental in and of itself. But the feelings and thoughts behind it might be.

As for my personal beliefs, I try not to offer advice unless asked for. My friends know I am there to help them ot talk about anything bothering them. But I will not try to give advnice unless I am asked for it. Depending on your belief sustem, not giviong unasked for advice may not mean not offering help. I will sometimes go home and pray for the person to find their inner happincess and peace. And I have faith that they will receive that help.

I beleive that there is a rythm to things and a Divine timing. Sometimes it is meant to take peoiple time to understand things. It is supposed to be that way.All the life lessons that we learnt, we did not learn them overnight either. Sometimes someone we know may be in a place we left years ago emotionally. But we need to allow them their process and to work on ther time clock.

Unless the person is REALLY hurting themselves badly. If it is something serious. I may up and offer advice. But even then just once. if they are ready they will take it. If not you can't make them be ready if they are not.

Actually just last night I had a similar situation to this. And this is rare for me. But there was someone in my life who can be positive at times, But when she's not it's like such a wall or negativity coming at me it almost knocks me over. Almost like one of those psychic vampire things. Like I needed to shield myself first form that energy. Not just like sad about life but like waves of deep deep hatred and anger. I don't even feel those things in my own life. So when it comes at me full force (as it does from her) it feels like a wall and it knocks me down. Sometimes it takes me weeks to get back to myself. Ok, so I am a bit of an empath.

It was harming me to have her in my life. I was fine in the positive periods but they never last forever and I could not handle the power of the rest. Last night I told her that I care about her but I care about myself too and i can't keep going through this as it is too harmful to me inside. I don't know if I can or have explained well why, but it just was harming me too much....

So I told her that when she gets into that negative place it is too harmful to me psychically and I can't go there again. And that we can only stay friends if she can stay in that place. Not that there was something wrong with her. Just this is what has been happening and I am not willing to be hurt by it anymore.

So I told her if she was able to not go back to that place again we can stay friends, If not, then she was free to call me again when she was able to and we can start again.

I don't think I was being judgemental. I understand the hardships she went through in her life and yeah I may well be exactly where she was now had I had the same ones. But in the here and now I feel like I just had to take steps to protect myself. But it was really hard to do.

Babs
 

SunChariot

Once, a friend of my husband asked a sort of light hearted, rhetorical question while we were out one night. He said "why does this keep happening to me?" The clear and obvious response was that he kept smothering anyone who went out with him to the point that he became jealous, needy and whiney but the friend who hinted at this was then demonised by some of the others (behind his back) that he was being judgemental and cruel. The thing is, if they had all been comfortable enough with each other to discuss this properly, then the guy might now be in a stable relationship. As it is, he saw the comment as cruel and judgement and the two are no longer friends (he also is no nearer to finding a long-term life partner either!). So which is more cruel?

I honestly am not sure, with this one.

The question was asked, which opened up the topic. Even though yes it was a rhetorical question, you can presume the one who asked it actually did not know the answer. Someone who knows that people do not want to be with them because he is smothering...if they knew that was the answer they would not joke about it or ask because they would not want remind the others of that fact.

So A) a question was asked, B) the person who asked it likely does not really know the answer to it and C) there is a potential that knowing that answer might turn things around and help them.

Even whether it is cruel to tell them at all is debatable. If their knowing could help them be happier....But a public forum was not the best place. That would have been best as a two person conversation. Like if the person asked Why does this keep happening to me? You can call them later and tell them that you do know the answer and that you care for them and want to help. If they still want to know you can fill them in, to help them avoid more of the same in the future.

To call someone smothering if they ARE smothering, is that judgmental. if it is a fact I am going with a no on that. As it is a fact that you can be sure of.

To call someone a bad person, now that is. Because it is subjective and the one saying it is the one who has made this judgemment. But if 10 people sitting around the table thing one is smothering its safe to say its a fact, not aa subjective judgment.

But still using negative words like the to convey the message would not be the best way. Like if you had to tell the person instead of saying they are smothering it might be more caring to say that they have a fear of losing people they love. And you understaind how that came from something in the past as we all have our things in the past....But when you act from that fear it makes the one you love react in "X" way and that may not really be getting them to where they want to go...." instead of saying smothering....

Also when you use negative words to talk to someone about themseves, what invariably tends to happens is they get defensive and tune out. So it is not likely to be as helpful and non-negative words. It is also possible that if the person really is smothering in relationshoips that they may need some type of therapy to get over it. Just being told it, even if they believed it may not automatically cure it.

Babs
 

Milfoil

Thinking about the latter one, it strikes me that a lot depends on what trust is in place at the time. Few people will take advice from or accept comments from anyone who they have no respect for or don't trust. Even if that person actually has the answer, it won't be accepted because of the person's own barriers in that direction so 'telling it as it is' may be wasting one's breath.

The trouble is, few people really do ask for real advice, what they want is a 'nice' comfortable agreement and to stay in their rut. Is that a judgement? Perhaps so but based on personal experience . . . mine! It took someone I trusted completely and looked up to to tell me a few home truths, a few times (because I'm thick that way) for the penny to drop. As Nietzsche wrote regarding cognitive dissonance - "Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions to be destroyed." Often these are the first ones to deal the 'judgement' card.

The problem with people shouting about others being judgemental is that the street runs both ways and they have a responsibility too. To truly be judgemental seems to be more about basing one's actions on a decision about a person which is subjective. However, where evidence is overwhelming and there is a clear course of action that would change the situation, is it still judgemental or just honesty?