The iciest judge whom I have across up to now is the biblical god. On the day of the final judgment, according to the Bible, god will stand in all his glory before the entire nations and divide the countless souls into good and bad. As simple as that. Those on his right are good and the others “cursed.”
The next harshest judges I have come across are in real life and are the priests of the biblical god. They condemn people every moment, in the church homilies, retreat sermons, biblical conventions and the simple conversations you may have with them on the roadside. There’s a whole list of sins, mortal and venial, to guide their judgment, in addition to whatever the men of god may decide to be right and wrong according to the expediency of the situation.
And yet Jesus was a very compassionate man. He asked his followers never to judge others. He wanted his followers to be compassionate so much so that they should offer the other cheek when one is slapped. He asked people to love others as they loved themselves. It is the same Jesus who promised the thunderous last judgment, who drove out the money changers and traders from the synagogue, and called a section of people “brood of vipers.”
It is impossible to live without judging. Every moment of our life we are judging others. We judge people to be good for us or bad, kind or unkind or indifferent, and so on. We judge our tailors, shopkeepers, workers, everyone so that we can choose the right service at the right cost. We judge the newspapers we read and the TV channels we choose to watch. We judge our politicians, our doctors, our teachers. We judge the person sitting next to us in the train or bus even if we have nothing to do with him or her and may never meet that person again.
Judgment is an integral part of our everyday life. There’s no need to wait for the Last Judgment. There’s no way of getting on with life without making judgments at every step. Blessed are those who can make good judgments. But as A A Milne, I believe, said, “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”
When it comes to social and other public issues, the easiest is to stand with the community, the majority, and nod in agreement to whatever they judge. Just nod. To show them. After that, in the privacy of your heart and home, follow your own judgment. If you stand out of the group too conspicuously, the same people who preach nonjudgmental attitude to you will be the first ones to nail you to the cross, thrash you on the street, or bury you beneath shrapnel.
Finally, it’s our own choice. Each individual decides how overt his judgments can be depending on his or her malleability and ductility. The only thing that’s certain is that we can’t live without making judgments.