Who Are You To Judge?

“Why are you so judgey?”

“Who are you to say what I can or cannot do?”

“Only God can judge me!”

These are all common refrains of the modern age, where it seems one can not issue an opinion of any sort without being considered “judgmental.”  It is not an unreasonable perception either.  Judgmental people can come across as over-bearing and arrogant.  It’s even worse when they appear to be wrong-headed.  Judgmental people are very often hypocrites, as too many of them demand perfection when they themselves are, by their very nature, imperfect.

This aversion towards being judgmental has gone too far, however.  Instead of calling out people for unpleasantness, the accusation has now become a deflection.  Rather than letting others shine a light on how we live our lives, we would rather turn it back on them, accusing them of some sort of untoward behavior.  Further, we suggest that the very idea of judgment is an unpleasantness that we, as a society, would rather not deal with.

Of course, there is the inherent hypocrisy of calling out someone for making a judgment: that action in and of itself is a judgment.  Everything we say or do involves some sort of judgment.  It is how humans operate and how we discern good from bad, healthy from unhealthy, life from death.  The idea that society should somehow do away with the concept of “judgment” is ludicrous because it is central to the decision-making process.

The fact of the matter is that the title question in no way makes a call on the value judgment.  Instead, it is an evasive way to say “I disagree with you” without ever having to explain why.  The problem is not that a certain someone has judged a person or situation; it is that they have made a judgment call that disagrees with one’s own.  Rather than debate the value of the opinion or observation, we instead try to cast the observer in a negative light.

Instead of having honest and forthright debate, this mentality has slowly pushed us into a realm where people are afraid to express their opinions for fear of being “branded.”

You think that it is too risky to sleep around? How dare you judge people’s private recreation!

Think abortion is wrong?  How dare you judge the women that have had one!

You think gay marriage is wrong? How dare you judge the ways in which people try to find love/happiness!

The list goes on.  In each and every case, however, the problem is not judgment; it is the face that the accuser has made the opposite call.  The only possible purpose of accusing another of “judging” is to stifle debate.

Perhaps we would be aided in our discourse if, rather than be offended that someone would dare come to a conclusion different from ours, we instead discussed opinions openly.

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