Well, you should.
Actually, you shouldn’t. Unless….
Truly I don’t consider myself a judgmental person. But at some point we have to consider the consequences of our actions. We are not only responsible for our wrong doings, but for how those wrongs are visited upon others. My general rule is that, if a person is kind to me and treats me with respect, they are welcome as my friend, free of judgment. But all things being unequal, there are some things I can’t look past. I think it comes down to our threshold of threat. I’m perfectly happy to let others believe in whatever faith they decide is best for them, whether that’s Southern Baptist, or Catholic or Hindu or Muslim. I don’t care. But many do. And why? They must find other ideologies threatening.
Take it to another extreme. At what point does passing judgment become necessary? Let’s say I have an uncle who has an unhealthy interest in little boys. I may find him sweet and funny. But I’m not likely to have him babysit my kids. Is that being judgmental? Or is that being responsible?
We live in a society now where we claim a right to do and be and say and think and act in whatever way we choose. But not all choices are worthy ones. In fact, I find the whole philosophy disturbing. Most people drink, many use drugs of one kind or another. And yet the number of lives, of families, of relationships it ruins is really tragic. It’s staggering. I grew up around it and I have little patience with overindulgence now. In fact I take great pains to avoid having to be anywhere near those who I have known to drink too much. It’s not a judgment. It’s a safety issue.
I intensely dislike smoking, too. What business is it of mine if people smoke, wherever, whenever they please? It’s their bodies, their right to do what they want with them. But the thing is, I suffer from a fairly common lung ailment. It’s easy to dismiss the fact that secondhand smoke MIGHT cause lung cancer at some future point in my life. Why should the smoker sitting next to me be concerned with that? The fact of the matter is, that within an hour, maybe two hours, perhaps ten minutes (sometimes immediately), I’ll likely have an asthma attack. On the off chance you are unfamiliar with what an asthma attack feels like, go get a coffee straw, stick it in your mouth and try to breathe through it. How long can you keep it up before you turn blue and pass out? Lucky you. You can take the straw out. People die from asthma. Yes, there are drugs we take to keep ourselves alive, but I don’t always remember them. I have no problems inhaling fresh air, after all. And these drugs come with their own risks, their long term side effects. Why should my life be endangered because of someone’s ‘right’ to indulge.
Not dissimilarly, I am extremely averse to suffering the rants and irrational anger and resentment that spews from the mouths of those who habitually drink too much. I hate it. I find it repulsive, embarrassing (for them), abusive, resentment building, relationship destroying and just plain stupid. And I won’t put up with it. Love me, love my alcoholism? I don’t think so.
So it comes down to our threat threshold. It seems I’m threatened by suffocation, by verbal, emotional, physical violence to myself or my children. Am I judgmental? Perhaps, in certain instances, I need to be.
Our society is a very selfish one. Perhaps it’s why I immerse myself so much in history. It’s always been a problem to some degree, the temptation to fulfill our desires first, before we take consideration of those whom we might harm. And sometimes it’s impossible to foresee the outcome. As a hypothetical, it’s easy to dismiss. But I have to wonder if that’s not why the world is what it is today. From the highest to the lowest, we’re all out to serve ourselves. I yearn for a kinder humanity. I want to be able to trust my fellow men, to trust my leaders, to feel safe. Do our individual actions make a difference? In the perspective of a collective whole, they must. Think about it. What are our future leaders doing right now? And will it matter to you when they are President, or Prime Minister? It should. And if it doesn’t, it will.