Blessings to you!
Those of us who are old enough to remember the "Laugh-In" television program from the 1970's probably can finish the line that begins "Here come 'de Judge..." The whole statement is: "Here come 'de Judge, Here come 'de Judge, order in the court room, here come 'de judge."
This comes from a Laugh-In weekly skit, poking fun at our political and cultural prejudices. While the skits were funny, the message behind them, calling us to rethink our old mindset, was meaningful and powerful.
"To judge, or not to judge," that is the question. Even the Bible can add to the confusion. Jesus said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Then, he is quoted as saying, "But when you judge, use righteous judgement.
Today I would like to invite you to embrace judgment as a paradox. The spiritual faculty of judgment...or discernment...is a gift. It helps us to be safe, and make good choices. On the other hand, judgment can be erroneous and hurtful. It can stand in the way of love and understanding, or bring us wisdom.
A key to right use of the faculty of judgment can be found in the word "Prejudice." It implies pre-judging; Judging without considering the Truth behind the appearance.
It is easy to pre-judge another. We may misconstrue something they have said or done. We may assume guilt, without considering the possibility it is we, who do not understand. The trick is to discern when our judgment is righteous and when it is erroneous.
Jesus' powerful statement, "What is that to you?...Follow me!" provides a powerful clue.
So...whenever we feel the inclination to judge or "label" another person, place or circumstance according to our perspective, we may want to stop and reflect on the "cause" or energy behind the effect. We can benefit greatly by considering the possibility we are wrong, while also considering the possibility we are right.
Perhaps the person, place or circumstance has pushed one of our buttons or struck a nerve, triggering a negative response. This is the time to ask ourselves, "What IS this to me?" What is the cause behind the effect I am experiencing. Is it valid, or is it a ghost of past experience, coming forth for healing today.
A Course in Miracles says, "I am not upset for the reason I think." This is the time to ponder exactly what it is that we are upset about, and judging by.
Have we taken a personal offense? The Four Agreements reminds us, "Do not take anything personally," which the Buddhist tradition reaffirms in the practice of detachment in order to live lives of serenity and freedom.
Negative energy such as fear or anger can be valid, or it can be erroneous. When we ask ourselves "What IS that to me;" we can discern what the person, place or circumstance we are judging has to offer us in the way of wisdom and understanding. We can also see this as an opportunity to heal the cause behind the effect that is the emotion.
Rightly used, Judgment is a great tool for exploring our thoughts and feelings; a tool for spiritual healing. So, the next time you feel the inclination to judge a person, place, thing or circumstance, I invite you to remember the words of the Master, "What is that to you?" and the most precious words..."Follow me."
We follow the Master when we practice unconditional love and understanding. We follow the Master when we practice patience and tolerance. We follow the Master when we seek wisdom, and peace.
Heeding the words of the Master, "What is that to you...follow me!" reminds us to turn from mundane experiences, and return to our spiritual path in the footsteps of His powerful teaching of love and peace.