Overcoming Judgment of Others
Learning to Choose Love Over Judgment
Have you ever had one of those moments when you were gently (or not so gently) nudged into an understanding that forces you to change your thinking? As if you've been yanked into a position far away so your view is now from a much larger perspective? In that instant, values are transferred from one place to another. This type of experience has helped me recognize the truth about passing judgment on others.
A simple book, small in stature yet enormous in insight, Dropping Your Rock, by Nicole Johnson, is helping me to grasp a new truth about the freedom in choosing love over judgment.
I write about this subject not as an authority, but as a learner. Not because I have perfected or mastered it, but because I strive to overcome it. The following set of ideas highlights bits of wisdom that have helped me along my journey. This article will remain a work in progress.
The book that changed my thinking
Learning and striving to overcome judging others
I am not an avid reader. It's something I regret and hate all at the same time. My mind wanders when I try to read. I'll find myself 2 pages into a book and realize I've been thinking about something else the entire time. This has happened my whole life so reading a book is not something I jump to do. But every now and then a book will sweep me off my feet.
When I found this little book, Dropping Your Rock, I wasn't even at a bookstore. I was at an outlet clothing store that has a book section. Walking by I noticed the book sticking out from the rest. It's cover was dirty and there was a clearance sticker in the upper right corner. Not appealing to say the least. I walked on, then backed up to glance through it. That decision changed my life.
Glancing through the pages, I felt the warm oil of an epiphany pouring over me. I continued skimming the book and an encompassing understanding filled me. I was judging people. Not purposefully and not even aware that I was doing it. I knew I must have this book and I bought it. It was less than $3.
Dropping Your Rock by Nicole Johnson - Please don't miss it
I've checked Amazon from time to time to see if this book is available. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. Find this book if you are interested in breaking free from judgement.
Funny name for a book isn't it? Dropping Your Rock
Judgments are hurled from our minds and lips - just like rocks
Here's the origination:
"Almost since the beginning of time, human beings have had a brutally simple way of dealing with wrong: rocks. Someone would point out the offender in the camp or the family or the clan, and everyone would come running. Picking up a cold, hard ballot of stone, they would violently cast their vote against wrong, again and again and again until it was gone. It was their way."
Dropping Your Rock, Nicole Johnson, page 1
Photo used under Creative Commons from Striatic on Flickr
Why throwing rocks doesn't work:
Rocks don't hit problems. Rocks hit people.
Learn more about Nicole Johnson here - Author of Dropping Your Rock
- Fresh Brewed Life
Find out more about this amazing author and speaker. See video clips that leave you pondering introspectively and see what else she has written.
A Rock Hurled
"A woman confronts someone rudely about an indiscretion in her life and later phones a friend to report, "And then I told her exactly what I thought of that sin." Whap! Now that woman will be in no danger of appearing soft on wrong - while the woman she hit will wear the bruise."
Dropping Your Rock, Nicole Johnson, page 10
As we throw, we convince ourselves that if the rock lands in just the right spot, it can knock out something evil.....If our goal is to kill our eneny, this could be the answer. But if we hope to change a friends' heart, it definitely is not.
Dropping Your Rock, Nicole Johnson, page 12
"There's no point in restating the obvious"
It can be an indicator of judgment
My husand tells me this sometimes and it irks me. However, I've come to appreciate this saying. Restating the obvious can be a sign of judging others.
Consider this: A young girl is pregnant by her boyfriend. We might be tempted to say things like, "They had no business doing that sort of thing," or "They were too young," or "She's in for a rough road," or "Serves them right." Everyone involved already knows all of this. Especially the girl who will bear every consequence of her actions for a very long time - probably as a single parent. What I've personally concluded is that when I restate the obvious it is usually an attempt to feel better about myself. I'm working on this.
There IS one exception. If a person is part of the SOLUTION to a situation, then sometimes it must be discussed. But those comments will have a different motive than the examples I've given. You'll know the difference.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Dano on Flickr
A lighthearted look at judgment - Sister Bertha Better-Than-You
Do you know a Sister Bertha Better-Than-You?
Who is valuable? Everyone
Don't strip someone's value through judging them
A man speaking to a group at a convention held up a $100 bill so everyone could see it. He asked, "Who wants this $100 bill?" Everyone raised their hands. He then crumpled it and stomped on it. Everyone in the audience looked on. He picked up the $100 bill and pressed it out flat. "Who wants it now?" he asked. The entire audience again raised their hands.
The audience knew the value of the $100 and the value was INTACT. Just like people. Nothing that happens to the money changes its value - or the value of the soul.
Photo used under Creative Commons from jm3 on Flickr
The two things we judge most harshly are those things we don't struggle with at all and those things we struggle with the most.
Dropping Your Rock, Nicole Johnson, pages 25-26
I drop my rock
I put LOVE in the place of judgment?
What if I lift someone up instead of
tearing them down with my words?
What if I point out something good about
someone in the midst of their problems?
How will it change their day?
How will it change mine?
This is where I want to be in my life.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Caitlinator on Flickr
Learning from Children
Driving down the road my child said to me, "You know Mom, each of the people in all these cars around us is a person just like us. Each one has a family. Each one has problems they are dealing with just like us."
I wept in my silence. She's NOT judging them. She's loving them. She's valuing each one as an individual person.
"Give Me Your Eyes" - Longing for God's Perspective
Brandon Heath has apparently had this subject on his mind too. He cries out to God, "Give me your eyes," and "Give me your arms for the broken hearted." Also, "Give me your love for humanity."
I've pondered this song on many occasions. My personal interpretation is that Brandon Heath is stating when we drop our judgments of others, we can begin to see them as God sees them.
What do you think?
Is "dropping your rock"
acceptance of wrong-doing?No. This article speaks to self-righteous judgment of others. There is another kind of judgment that deals with careful discernment, but that is not what I'm speaking of here.
The Receiving End of Judgment
The other end of passing judgement - feeling judged by others - I'm taking a poll - please participate
Maybe it was a glance in your direction or maybe it was something said directly to you that delivered that gut punch, but whatever it was you felt judged by someone and it bothered you.
Can you remember a specific time when you've felt judged?
A time I felt judged
Small incident - lasting memory
I was shopping for earrings (of all things). These weren't just any earrings, these were earrings to match my wedding dress. I'd be getting married in a couple of weeks and I was willing to pay extra for something special. No doubt I was in jeans and a t-shirt running errands that day. As I approached the jewelry counter in the ritzy department store I saw the clerk look me over. Slowly, from head to toe and back to head again - judging me. Her tone confirmed my feelings as she spoke to me. I felt it and it felt degrading. If it hadn't been so blatant I would have overlooked it. That was 20 years ago.
At the same time, I must ask myself how many times I have passed judgment that affected someone for years? I cringe at the thought.
Forgiving those who have judged YOU
Letting it go
Yes. I'm learning that this is part of it. Sometimes it's the hardest part. Being judged by others doesn't require anything on our part. But when we are forgiving someone, we do the initiating.
I'm not talking about picking up the phone and calling someone. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, saying, "I forgive so-and-so for judging me" (in privacy) and from that point on letting it go.
Do they "deserve" the forgiveness? It is a tempting question to ask, but it has nothing to do with them. This is an action that brings you freedom.
The Greatest Compliment
Someone suggested our home was non-judgmental
We had family visiting us from out of town. We always have so much fun and the time is always too short. On this day, we were going shopping and right after we got in the car to leave, the family member said, "I always feel so comfortable at your house. I never feel judged." It wasn't particularly significant to the speaker to say such a thing, but for me time stood still. To know that this person did not feel "judged" at my home was the best compliment I've ever received. I didn't mention it again and neither did they - but I will remember that moment forever.