Me, the Judge and Jury

Jun 7, 2017 by

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The other night, a friend and I compared notes on why we avoid political discussions. I have always disliked them, but until this year I’d participated in so few that I probably wasn’t qualified to hate them yet. Kind of like when people warn all their Facebook friends about the evils of a book they’ve never read, based on one paragraph taken out of context. My typical routine was to sit quietly trembling while other people discussed their views, and consider which friend would be the safest to risk offending if they paused long enough to ask my opinion. The trembling came from a combination of fear for the moment when I would have to state my view or water it down for the sake of peace, the knowledge that whatever I did contribute to debates always came out wrong, and frustration over what discussing divisive topics brings out in people. Now that I have played an active role in a few talks of a political nature, I can officially say that they make me tired and occasionally give me a migraine. I either need more practice with tense conversations or the courage to say, “This is making me tired and giving me a migraine. How about if we talk books?”

I am so glad I tried it out! I know of at least one person who would be very proud of me. I am thankful for every request for my opinion on touchy subjects. I now know that I can disagree with someone and not die, and every person that I’ve discussed controversial topics with is still my friend. But I am much better suited for deep talks that allow me to get to know people without fear of being judged for my personal stance on things.

Because it’s the labeling and judging that concerns me the most, and the idea that sharing one’s views might impact a relationship. It’s the sense that by choosing not to spend my energy on issues that are way too complicated to solve in one debate session, my head might be mistaken for being in the sand, when really, I need to save it for the next debate with my fifteen-year-old about whether he can hang out with friends I don’t know.

I am much better suited for deep talks that allow me to get to know people without fear of… Click To Tweet

Trust me, I do plenty of judging and labeling. Not too long ago, I stopped listening to an online video because I “couldn’t stand” the speaker’s voice. In my obviously-strong opinion, she came across as fake, and I don’t like fake. As a speaker, I probably had the authority to critique her delivery, but I didn’t stop there. I decided that I would never be able to attend an event where she was the keynoter and get anything out of it because she annoyed me THAT MUCH. I’d considered ordering her book, but I wouldn’t now that’d heard her voice. I would hear it in my head while reading and never make it past Chapter One.

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Tone of voice is a big deal to me. While calling attorneys after my husband left, I crossed one off the list because I didn’t like her assistant’s tone. She sounded condescending to me, so what did that say about the attorney who hired her? Last year, on the other hand, I felt complete peace that I could trust someone based on the soothing tone of her message on my voice mail, and I was right. I know my sensitivity to voice has something to do with my vision limitations. However, a keen sense in this area was no excuse this time, because I didn’t stop there either.

If the speaker sounded fake on camera, what was she like in real life? I could never be friends with her! I pulled my screen closer and … Oh my gosh, what is that she is wearing? Are you kidding me? That is so unprofessional. Did anyone coach her?

The assumptions that took over my thought process aren’t worth going into, except to say that I am extremely embarrassed.

The sad thing is, she had some great things to say. I just couldn’t get past what bugged me, and what I’d decided must be true about this woman I’d never met. I don’t think I was wrong to dislike her delivery or question her wardrobe choice. We all have our preferences, and analyzing speakers comes with the territory of being one. I crossed the line when I decided I couldn’t possibly learn anything from her, and based my overall opinion of her as a person on five minutes of video.

And people think I’m such a nice person!

I guess, left to ourselves, none of us is. We all have it in us to judge and make assumptions, and we all have something about us that others just can’t deal with today. No matter what we believe, there is someone out there who thinks we’re uninformed or following the wrong news source, that we don’t care enough, care too much, voted for the wrong candidate, would change our mind if we did more research, should be more respectful, should be less afraid of offending people, or need lots of prayer if we believe God works that way. It is very possible that my voice drives someone crazy.

We all have it in us to judge and make assumptions, and we all have something about us that… Click To Tweet

All I can say is, I’m glad I answer to God and not people like me. I’m so thankful that He knows every detail of my heart, including why I think what I think, do what I do, and avoid what I avoid.

The same is true for others, and for you! How comforting is that?

Be honest. In what areas are you prone to be judgmental. What do you avoid for fear of being judged or misunderstood? How can you be a little kinder and more accepting this week?

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In what areas are you prone to be judgmental. Click To Tweet
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2 Comments

  1. Jeanette, you are one of the nicest people I know.

  2. Jessie Chamberlain

    Jeanette, I really appreciated this blog. Thank you for the reminder to not worry about being judged by my “cover” because God knows my heart, and to extend grace to those I struggle to understand. God bless!

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