I’ve written before about my judgment of others, and how next to watching college football, it’s pretty much my favorite pastime. But my beautiful and wicked smart wife made this remark to me as I was about to, you guessed it, judge someone. According to her, judgment is based on lack of fact. We presume something to be true about someone, and we judge them for it.
Here’s how it works in my mind. I see someone driving a nice car, and I immediately presume they are in debt up to their eyeballs. Then I begin to evaluate their entire lives and spending habits, all the while trying to make myself feel better because my air conditioner doesn’t work. But I’m a better person than they are because I drive a beater and they drive a Lexus. What I don’t know is the truth of the situation. Did they win a contest? Have they saved every penny and paid cash for that car? I don’t know, and I’m content not to know.
So let’s take it a step further – maybe judgment is a substitute for intimacy. If it’s true that judgment is based on assumption, then you would have to acknowledge that those we know most deeply, most truly, we are least likely to judge, simply because we know them well enough to not make assumptions about them. So is judgment a substitute for intimacy? I think it is.
It’s easier to judge, to assume, to fabricate a story in your mind, than it is to go through the messy process of actually listening and knowing others. It’s much easier to know them on a surface level, one that leaves room for us to fill in the details of their personage with our own minds. So maybe the cure for judgment isn’t to just try harder not to judge; maybe the cure for judgment is intimacy.