Here’s a challenge I have been practicing for quite some time now: resisting the urge to judge that which I do not know. It is a harder challenge than it sounds.
- Movies we haven’t seen. “No one should watch Popular But Sinister Movie…because I read a review of it online.”
- Books we haven’t read. “No one should read Heretical Bestselling Book…because I heard a sermon about how bad it is.”
- Music we don’t enjoy. “That Wildly Famous Musician is awful and disgusting and immoral and yada yada yada.”
The consequences of judging things are often petty and insignificant. Nevertheless, I have found myriad blessings from the discipline.
For example, after a friend suggested that Frozen was an evil movie (one that I should join him in judging), I watched it anyway. I very much appreciated the conflict in the movie and identified with it. I wrote an entire blog post about it, “But the Cold Does Bother Me,” and it has been shared hundreds of times. I’m glad I didn’t fall for my friend’s judgment.
The consequences of judging people is more horrific. Sometimes tragic.
As with judging things, people often judge others as if they “know” them. I have found few examples more accurate of this than with how people judge the Syrian refugees. I had one Facebook “friend” insist that “most” of the refugees were terrorists. She insisted on it, and many agreed with her.
She doesn’t “know” anything or anyone, especially refugees. From the comfort of her American home, she is lying. And the consequence of such fallacious dishonesty? Four million refugees are still displaced, and our country’s doors are shut to helping them. We should get over our fear and doubt and welcome them to refuge.
Judgment is a tricky thing. I do not want to be gullible, and I certainly teach discernment in debate and in speaking the truth. That said, I resist the urge to judge that which I do not know. And I sincerely believe the world would be a better place if everyone did the same.