Many of us feel like our societal problem is the inability to talk calmly and rationally with one another regardless of personal viewpoint on the issues of our day. I think we all recognize that what passes for dialogue is really an exercise in drowning out one another with a stream of sound bites. It’s depressing when seen from any perspective.
I keep thinking that our compulsion to pass worthiness judgments on one another underlies everything else. We come to the notion that we are the rightful assessor of the character and moral culpability of everyone we encounter at a very early age. This begins a lifelong rush to judgment in almost every human interaction.
The resulting corrosive view of our fellow human beings is bad enough, but what literally kills us is the effect that all this judgment has on our own mental state. Jesus said that judgment of others causes us to be judged. I see that clearly in my own mind and heart.
My own personal feelings of inadequacy and anxiety all stem from self judgment. I can’t escape the conclusion that I am as deficient in righteousness as the next man. There are countless ways I could be a better person in my own estimation, and that awareness coupled with a little judgment leads to endless self flagellations. Nobody needs to beat me up; I do a great job of that alone.
As much as we need more dialogue in our lives, we need a lot less judgment of others. The dialogue in our heads with ourselves is unavoidable; but, when we cut the other person some slack, we also allow ourselves to be flawed and yet content.
A new dialogue with myself is what I need. If I ever master that exchange and quit condemning myself, I bet all my other dialogues become less stressful and more productive.