Sunday, October 20, 2013


Judgement  is defined in Wikipedia as……"the evaluation of evidence to make a decision. The term has four distinct uses:

  • Informal - opinions expressed as facts.
  • Informal and psychological – used in reference to the quality of cognitive faculties and adjudication capabilities of particular individuals, typically called wisdom or discernment.
  • Legal – used in the context of legal trial, to refer to a final finding, statement, or ruling, based on a considered weighing of evidence, called "adjudication". See spelling note for further explanation
  •  Religious – used in the concept of salvation to refer to the adjudication of God in determining Heaven or Hell for each and all human beings."

Everyone is guilty of Judging other people. Many times it happens in small , unconscious ways without us really realizing it.   We judge  people’s appearance, jobs, residence or appearance. There is a laundry list of external factors used to pass judgment about others, without adding instant judgments we make   in the heat of the  moment.  Of course in doing so, we seldom have the entire story.

It is difficult for us to make a fair assessment about people, absent  knowledge of what is needed to give us a realistic  picture of another person’s heart.  For example, why is that person rude, or quiet, or distant? We do not know always the burdens the other person is carrying. Not even close.  

There is a difference between suspending judgement of individuals in our daily lives, and situations where we can make fair judgements based on the public record. It is safe to say that the government shutdown of October 2013, was a disaster. Though it’s tempting to issue the famed “pox on both your houses”  comment,  most of us in our hearts know what went down is beyond reckless. And though the Affordable Care Act is not without flaws, the level of opposition we have seen is driven by more than policy differences.  A plan supported by the health insurance industry is not a socialistic plan, and Mitt Romney could have campaigned against plagiarism last year. It’s the elephant in the room we all know about, but are afraid to utter the words. The events  in Washington we have witnessed led us to the brink, because there are people in Congress that only have to fear a primary come re-election time.  And the twenty percent of voters that turn out for those elections are disproportionately inclined to represent the extremists that will never get over the fact a black man has been elected president-twice. And if the election had turned out differently, many of these same people would have joined in a chorus of condemnation against America’s first LDS President.  And because I am repulsed by hard edged bigotry……

It’s easy to say that we should not judge others. But  reading above it seems I just have. That is what makes situations where a person’s behavior seems  morally repugnant so very hard.  Don’t we have an obligation to call out these people, to judge a person’s actions for our own sake, for those we care for,  or in the name of our values and what we hold near and dear?   

If we are raised in the Christian religious tradition,  we are told its imperative to  not judge others and to forgive trespasses against us. Over the years I have better managed to do so in my own regard, but have never been very beneficent when I see others being hurt. We can hit our holy books and research the question of what to do when confronted by things that  seem stupid or cruel. Some of us actually have encountered evil.  Then there is a professional perspective.  What can we do as managers when confronted by bad behavior?

There is a difference between judging an event as opposed to a person. We have a right and obligation to pass a judgment when a situation is toxic or dramatic or just plain wrong. We do not have an equivalent right to judge another’s morality or human worth.  There is a good case that avoidance is always an option, and absenting oneself from toxicity represents an assessment  a dynamic should be avoided going forward. With that information we can make a decision without the moral baggage of having to bother judging individuals.  If we view events from the viewpoint of karma, it’s a slam dunk the laws of cause and effect are inescapable. If we view events from the viewpoint of faith,  we can rest assured that there will be no reprieves for true evil come that inevitable Judgement day.  Belief in God, and his possession of all the evidence to discern our true souls, offers the same assurance. Knowing this we can focus on ourselves and find equanimity knowing that a system exists to address actions, of all those we meet. And every single one of us.


PS- Steve Harvey on Judgement Day