As I continue my way through The Shack, I am continually surprised by the ideas and concepts that grab my attention. Under the justification of self-preservation, being alert, or just calling it like it is; so many times I find myself in this exact position. In the exact defense of my snap judgements or firm judgments of the people I see and meet.
“You have already proven yourself very capable [of judging], even in our short time together. And besides, you have judged many throughout your life. You have judged the actions and even the motivations of others as if you somehow knew what those were in truth. You have judged the color of skin and body language and body odor. You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person’s life by the quality of your concept of beauty. By all accounts, you are quite well-practiced in the activity.”
WOW… What a statement. And it clearly speaks to me in that punch to the guy kind of convicting way. I have made judgements and decisions, comments and conceptions all based on my gut reaction, my emotional feelings, and my eyes sight; but in all honesty how much of that is truth. How many times have I had that conversation YEARS later with a friend or co-worker that revealed some deep dark secret about their first impression of me? Or my feelings and thoughts of them? At which point, we have a great grand laugh and joke about how good our friendship is now and continue to tell the stories that make us who we are.
But in those moments of revelation is there not an ounce of concern or worry? Do people not think for just a second about what a judgemental their friend is for thinking those things? How about the idea that if these truths about perception had been revealed in those early moments, the friendship would probably have never formed?
Where oh where did this come from? Why do I do this? <– My question for EVERYTHING I do that I don’t like. So I search my heart, my life experience, my mind, and my feelings. At times I wonder are there they reasons, excuses, justifications or something more dramatic like genes or upbringing (nature and nurture – gotta love it.) Yet for me I find its deepest, loudest voice is found in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, and fear of failure. That if I can not understand it then it will hurt me. If I cannot put it in its box, I cannot predict it and prepare for what it will do. If it is not like me then it makes me uncomfortable. If I do know KNOW what it is capable then I cannot protect myself, because I NEED protecting… I always need protecting… if I don’t do it no one else will. (There’s a thought for future blog dissection. )
As much as I would love to live in that exotic place with my gold crown shines beautifully, I must be honest and truly search for why I cling to the need to continue as I always have (Brent knows how much I like Cleopatra). Evaluating, observing, deciphering, determining, planning, perceiving, and in all it does translate into a form of Judgement. And where does the first glances of innocent first impression fleeting thoughts turn into brick hard judgement? At what point, do I insert the wall of mistrust because of a statement, joke, look, gesture, or story someone has shared? When does my perception of their person become a judgement in my mind against that person?
And even worse at what moments in time do I then say those things out loud to another person, passing it off as truth with a capital T? For then they accept my judgment or decision on that person and apply it to their behavior or interactions with that person. And in the blink of an eye a fleeting thought, hurt feeling, misunderstood statement, or giving gesture gone awry has turned into this pile of judgement against a person.
So I am taking a couple of days to dig deeper into my thoughts surrounding judgment and where it comes from in me. And even share some of the things I hear in my mind when I do it, not in the form of justification, but in an effort of self-disclosure.