Many would agree that to achieve freedom from judgement of others is a worthy goal. My song Preacher is about the struggle a person-of-faith likely faces in this endeavor. But regardless one is a person-of-faith or not, I believe the path to freedom from judgement of others has a similar set of obstacles.
At the heart of the challenge always lies conviction there exist ‘truth-absolutes’ of good/bad, higher/lower, worthy/unworthy, should/shouldn’t … in terms of individual attitude and action. But such conviction inevitably sets one up to fail, … because in practice one cannot avoid awareness of attitudes/actions that do not tally with the truth-absolutes – and as a consequence form some sort of ‘non-endorsement’ attitude toward the perpetrators. Regardless one is dismissive of; feels sorry for; feels compassion for; sees as fallen soul; considers demonic/evil; or perhaps simply misguided; or just of poor taste, … these are all judgements.
OK … let us try to tolerate those who do not conform with our truth-absolutes … let us live in a tolerant society. But being tolerant is not the same as being non-judgemental. We are just not saying it out loud
M. Scott Peck promotes a ‘Share our similarities, celebrate our differences’ approach in his book The Road Less Travelled … perhaps this is the road we need to take if we are going to progress toward non-judgementalism? To somehow find a way to celebrate all individual expressions … even when they do not at all tally with our own beliefs and values? But how can we do that and at the same time maintain our truth-absolutes conviction?
Is the only way forward to reconsider our convictions? Is that too high a price to pay?
I propose an approach along the lines of Scottpecksian ‘celebrate our differences’. For a person-of-faith this will generally require a degree of re-examination of convictions about who we are, and what we are about … that might go something like this:
If we all come from God, and as such are all divine, then whatever we apply ourselves to is a type of divine expression. And as such, perfect in it’s own way. No matter how small and insignificant we may be, we are nevertheless unique and therefore all contribute to the completeness of God’s overall divine expression – which includes not just the light stuff, but also the dark (I know, this is a difficult idea). By thinking in this way I can now celebrate everyone’s perfection, and become free from judgement. At the same time my personal faith is preserved.
… or something completely different of course 🙂
For me the path to freedom form judgement of others is very much a work in progress. Time to get out of my armchair!