As I grow older and hopefully wiser, an apparent need to address my addiction to “Judgment” has risen. It appears to me that much of what I view goes through this filter of judging. Let’s take a car I see while driving along or any object for that matter. I may think I don’t like the color. It is too big, too small, the tires too little. Then there are even people I meet …too fat, too skinny and on and on. It has become obvious the judgments are only important to me at a given time and most people don’t care much about my opinions.
This has lead me to ponder where this pattern came from. Of course, the first place many of us tend to place blame is our parents. Aha, a clue! My father! A very judgmental man, with an opinion on everything. The quiet voice says: “he is dead, in heaven. For heaven’s sake, leave him alone”. But still, the next time I saw an “ugly” car I somehow find myself saying, “Dad made me do it”. This thinking has lasted a while but doesn’t seem to quell the need to judge. Then the idea arises, our society is the culprit. Yeah, all the TV commercials telling me if I drive this car, use this soap, drink that brand of beer, I will be attractive and smart. I’ve bought all these items and none of it has come true.
So what is at the core of this addictive judgment? Am I so insecure I must put objects and other people down? In order to lift myself up. Perhaps our God is asking me to take a closer look at myself and this behavior. Could it be that the root of this judgment is my own fear and anxiety that I don’t measure up? Am I good enough?
In preparation and prayer for this reflection I came across these words from Richard Rohr – “…. the Bible says “do not be afraid” almost 150 times! If we cannot calmly hold a certain degree of anxiety, we will always look for somewhere to expel it. Expelling what we can’t embrace gives us an identity, but it’s a negative identity. It’s not life energy, it’s death energy. Formulating what we are against give us a very quick and clear sense of ourselves. Thus, most people fall for it. People more easily define themselves by what they are against, what they have, by who else is wrong, instead of by what they believe in and who they love”. Wow!! Is that me? Where have I placed my identity?
I have a good friend who recently bought a Ferrari. I’m eager to see it. Will I like the color? Does it matter?
I look forward with God’s grace to identify with the beauty I see all around me and release any judgment and the accompanying negative energy.