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Editorial - Judge not and you shall not be judged

28 May 2012 07:08 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In our lives we have a tendency to form opinions of others. Quite often we see their negative side and think little before condemning them.
What do we know of what is in the heart of other people when they behave in a certain way? What do we know of all the conditioning they are subjected to through temperament and upbringing? What do we know of the implications of their actions?

Wanting to set ourselves up as judges is dangerous. It is like shooting an arrow with our eyes closed, not knowing where it’s going to land. We run the risk of being unjust, relentless and obtuse. We need only remember that if it’s so difficult to understand ourselves, how much more difficult would it be to reach into the depths of people, their past and present and all that they have experienced.

We condemn ourselves when we judge others harshly. We behave in the same way as those we condemn. It is typical of human nature to judge and condemn in others what is particularly displeasing in ourselves, but lack the courage to face.
Of course we cannot observe, listen and live without forming an opinion; that is without judging. Indeed it’s not so much from judging others we must free our hearts from, but rather from the venom with which we judge.

We need therefore to seek to use the human faculty of forming opinions in the correct way. That is turning a negative judgment into something positive; turning an act of non-love into one of love. Nelson Mandela was initially violent against the whites who ruled South Africa. He was put in prison for many years. There his judgmental attitudes towards the unjust apartheid policies of the whites, received transformation. He began looking through eyes of forgiveness, mercy and love. When finally released, he took up non violence as the answer, but reconciliation with those who oppressed and persecuted him. Thus was born the model story of transition with no bloodshed. It amazed the world.

We are called to correct ourselves as we are correcting others. Sometimes we may try at length and in vain to make somebody understand something. The problem lies in our not loving wholeheartedly. We need to get rid of resentment and bitterness. Then that person would trust us enough to know that only one’s good is sought, and not condemnation.

We need to also keep ego under constant observation, as if it were on the prisoner’s bench; as soon as it makes a move to sit on the judge’s bench, we must lead it back gently but firmly. Maybe, there could still evolve a blessing for our nation through those who do not judge others but discover freedom within.
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