Sunday, October 02, 2011

Imposing Judgment vs. Judgment Calls


I know a woman who has recently divorced her husband, and I really can’t blame her.  Never liked the guy.  Never liked the way he treated her or her kids.  Never thought it was a healthy relationship, and for me, it would not have even been tolerable. 

I’ve run into “Cindy” a few times since the divorce was finalized.  She’s having a good time.  No, really… a really good time.

I know we like the phrase “don’t judge.”  But I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and the phrase is far too simple to encompass any normal relationship in this world.  We judge.  We can’t stop the reactions we have, and would not want to navigate this life without our impressions.  I want to look at a person and have instincts, assessments, and… yes… the staggering gift of my character judgment.  It has never betrayed me.  It has taught me a great deal, often by my own betrayal of IT.

So when I see “Cindy,” a mother of three, out drinking herself stupid, dressed like she’s still in college, and using far more sexually suggestive language than she did during her marriage, I have a reaction.  Sorry, but it isn’t a positive one.

Does this mean I stopped liking “Cindy?” No. Does it mean I think less of her? Not yet. But there is a difference between judging her and making a judgment call.

JUDGING HER: “Cindy” has become a lush and a bit of a tart and is no longer worthy of my friendship.  She should be spanked for being a bad girl, and shunned.

MAKING A JUDGMENT CALL:  I’ve noticed that recently, “Cindy” has bee celebrating the end of her bad marriage by acting like a lush and a bit of a tart.  I hope she gets past it soon.  I wonder if I can be a good friend to her in the mean time?  (Note to self: I also hope she doesn’t become this person for good… but I have a bad feeling about this.)

Discussions of “fair” and “book covers” are all well and good.  But the truth of the matter is, the world is watching you.  People can refrain from reacting negatively to your behavior, but they DO react, even when they are reciting platitudes about books, covers, and stone-throwing.

Just because I note the behavior, react to it, and reserve the right to keep my benefits of doubt close at hand does not mean I am a stone-thrower… nor does any one person’s right to behave as they wish mean the behavior is wise.

Take it as you wish… it’s your call.

1 comments ]:[ Add your comment:

Leigh Royals said...

Oh wise one, you have hit the mark again. We can't help to have a thought or reaction to things, but as you say, it isn't judging, such as labeling and leaping to conclusions.


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