The curse of humanity is our propensity to judge one another. These judgments take many forms: judicial verdicts, academic grades, political debate, sports commentary, television documentaries, religious intolerance, racial stereotyping, jingoistic nationalism, and even this article, perhaps. These continuous, habitual, judgmental exercises divide mankind into a multitude of warring, bickering factions- religiously, politically, economically, sexually, and nationally. The exercise of judgment against another almost always leads to a feeling of smug superiority in the judge and of abuse in the judged. The judgmental mindset is positively devastating to the psychological and spiritual state of both the judges and those being judged.
Some might want to counter that every decision we make involves judgment. That is certainly true, but our exercise of free-will in making personal decisions does not justify our exercise of judgment in trying to control, segregate, subjugate, ridicule, or diminish our fellowman. Judge righteous judgment for your personal actions, thoughts, and convictions but don’t expect others to honor your personal decisions as their own.
Others probably conclude that judgment is unavoidable. Otherwise one cannot distinguish between good and evil. For the religiously minded such a thought is ironic because this desire to distinguish between good and evil was the basis for the original sin. Judging actions or behaviors, as beneficial or not, may be programmed into us; but our responses based on those assessments should not dismiss the reality of our own shortcomings and the historical ineffectiveness of vindictiveness as a means to transform behaviors.
Our collective “rush to judgment” results in a ton of societal guilt, recrimination, self-righteousness, and fear. It is the underlying factor behind many of humanity’s ills. Truly, the forbidden Knowledge of Good and Evil, as documented in the biblical account of the Fall, has produced a far-reaching negative effect. Maybe this is the reason Jesus admonished men to escape judgment by ceasing to judge others. Certainly, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil still bears a very bitter fruit.