Why do we have an overwhelming tendency to judge others? What is it in our makeup that makes us believe we are better than other people when we are all the same? Everyone has made some stupid decisions in their lives. Some were lucky enough to live through them, while others went completely under. But for everyone who has survived a stupid decision, have they truly survived or are they paying for it through the rumor mill for the rest of their lives? Wow, there are a lot of questions in this paragraph, but it honestly makes me think about the world we live in and why anyone would want to be honest when they’re just going to be judged one way or another in perpetuity.
I’m not saying I’m immune to it either, but at least I think about it. And I am grateful to those people who also think about it before judging others because nobody’s perfect. My father used to always say that the only difference between us and people in jail is that they got caught, and I honestly think he’s right on that one. So many of us have deep, dark secrets that we hope never come to light, even if just for the embarrassment factor, but what we really worry about is the judgment of others. We spend so much time trying to be what others imagine we are that we forget who we really are. And if people are truly your friends they won’t judge you for the stupid mistakes you’ve made.
Hmmm. But wait. Aren’t there some mistakes that are worth judgment? What if you were driving too fast and you accidentally slammed into another car and someone died as a result? Imagine it was your friend. What do you do? Can you separate the person you think you know from the reckless individual who took another’s life due to that recklessness? Or is that the dividing line that cuts you off from him? If it were you, would you want forgiveness from others or would you demand isolation as penance for the horrible mistake you made?
It’s a thin line for many people, and not many are up for walking it, believing in you even when you’ve done bad things, getting past those things and seeing the frightened person inside who needs a friend now more than ever. No one knows the whole story except for you, and you’ve passed judgment on yourself harsher than anyone else ever could.
Now, think about another scenario. A woman cheats on her husband one time, in a moment of weakness, and he finds out about it because she told him in a fit of remorse directly afterwards. Do you judge her as an outsider, knowing the surface of things, and stop being her friend at the moment when she needs you most? Or do you recognize that we are all flawed beings, that she made a mistake, that she’s trying to make it right? It’s a moment of reckoning, for sure, when you find out what you’re truly made of, when you realize that you have no right to judge others.
“Recollect your thoughts. Don’t get caught up in the mix. ‘Cause the media is full of dirty tricks. Only God can judge me.” -2Pac
We all have our dividing lines, and if someone crosses yours, it’s understandable that you would want to cut them off, but at least don’t judge based on what others say. Make up your own mind and do what you feel you have to do, but don’t let other peoples’ judgments determine yours. I believe that everyone deserves second chances, and that yes, in the end, God will judge, and that’s good enough for me. Because no one’s flawless.