For some reason the topic of judgement or ‘being judged’ has cropped up several times this week.
There seem to be two ways of looking at it.
It’s either something that you and I ‘do’ or in a different way it’s something that is done ‘to’ us.
Sometimes ‘judgement’ is used as a tool for making decisions and sometimes it (or the fear of it) is used as some sort of ‘weapon’ for controlling others.
Most religions, ‘Western’ religions in particular, have this concept that people will be ‘judged’ during or after life and that depending on that ‘judgement’ they will go on to a good place or a bad place.
But of course, they don’t really specify the criteria against which this judgement will take place; that tends to change according to the current ‘politics’ of each religious organisation!
The Spiritualist Church has a more pragmatic and ‘down to earth’ take on this as explained in their 6th Principle which is – Compensation and Retribution Hereafter for all the Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth
Which is explained thus: (with my emphasis added)
“As with all other Principles, natural laws apply; this one echoes the Law of Cause and Effect (‘what goes around, comes around’). One cannot be cruel and vindictive towards others and expect love and popularity in return. It should be understood that the compensatory or retributive effects of this law operate now, on earth: they do not wait until we begin to live our lives in the spirit world. With this understanding we can try to put right wrongs that we know we have done before we pass from this life.”
What this means is that you and I are not going to be judged by some external entity, but that we should exercise our own judgement about what we have done or have not done.
This ties in with the 5th Principle – Personal Responsibility
“This Principle is the one which places responsibility for wrongful thoughts and deeds where it belongs, with the individual. It is the acceptance of responsibility for every aspect of our lives, and the use to which we put our lives depends entirely upon ourselves. It is not possible for any other person or outside influence to interfere with our spiritual development, unless we are willing to allow this. As we are given freedom of choice (freewill), so also are we given the ability to recognise what is right and wrong for our own spirituality. We are personally responsible for all our words, deeds and thoughts.”
(Descriptions from www.snu.org.uk)
These two principles provide you and I with a really useful code for our behaviour, and for our ‘protection’.
Quite often we hear people in all sorts of contexts saying that they don’t like being ‘judged’ by other people or don’t like other people being ‘judgmental’
“Don’t judge me”
Well the truth of the matter is that what other people think of you or I is none of our business. It’s what they think, and it probably reflects feelings they may have about themselves.
It’s about them, not about us, and if you or I feel that we are being ’judged’ by others in some way, there is a simple answer – they are probably people that we don’t need to get involved with. (DDWT for those in the know!).
And when you and I find ourselves ‘judging’ or making assumptions about someone else (which we do from time to time), remember that we’re reflecting what is going on inside ourselves – because we have no idea what’s going on inside them.
But what about ‘exercising our judgement’?
This is rather different because now, you and I are usually using that ‘judgement’ based on our knowledge, skills, experience and wisdom, to make a decision that concerns us primarily, although it may affect other people as well.
We can ‘exercise our judgement’ to form an opinion of other people – but only when we have sufficient knowledge about them to do so. It’s not something we can do up front – that would be ‘judging’, and that would be counter-productive.
Exercising our judgement is somewhat similar to the use of the word ‘Judge’ in a legal context.
In a trial the Judge has to weigh up the evidence presented, according to the rules, by either side and make a decision in favour of one side or the other.
Unfortunately, this often depends on who has presented the ‘best’ evidence or sometimes who has presented their evidence ‘best’ and because of this the judgmental process, constrained by the ‘rules of Law’ can result in a ‘wrong’ decision or ‘miscarriage of justice’.
And in the same way you and I can also make errors in our judgement (we’ve all done it haven’t we?).
If we don’t have the ‘full story’, if we don’t have all the ‘evidence’, and if we don’t have sufficient knowledge, skill, experience and wisdom about the matter in hand we can ‘get it wrong’.
But it’s our decision and the 5th Principle of Personal Responsibility applies.
If you or I get it ‘wrong’, then we get it wrong, and once we know that, we can apply the 6th principle and do our best to rectify the situation or ‘put it right’ as soon as we can.
And, again in line with that principle, we may well have to suffer some sort of ‘retribution’ for ‘getting it wrong’.
Sometimes that happens straight away and sometimes the consequences arise later, but you and I can be certain, that it’s not going to be ‘stored up’ for a ‘judgement day’ when we eventually arrive on a higher plane of existence!
Judge wisely, and if you feel you’re being judged – ignore it.