“Judge not lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7: 1-3) is a quotation that has stuck with me for decades. It kind of falls in line with another passage from the Christian Bible which states, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)
Now you may be wondering why someone who has been a Wiccan for over 40 years would quote passages from the Christian Bible or any other religious book that isn’t from my own faith. It’s quite simple. Truth is truth and wisdom is wisdom, no matter who said it.
Wiccans have but one Law: “And ye harm none, do what thou wilt.” When contemplated, one begins to see that it really encompasses many of these truths that have been stated in other ways by the messengers from other spiritual paths.
In this case, I’m talking about passing judgment on other people. What does it really mean? How damaging (harmful) can it be? Does it harm the accuser as well as the accused?
Let me begin, in my usual way, with a definition. When you look up “judging” in the dictionary, some of the definition you may find go like this: 1. To hear and decide in an official capacity the merits (of a case) or the guilt (of a person); try. 2. To decide authoritatively, as a contest or controversy. 3. To hold as judgment or opinion; consider; suppose. 4. To form an opinion or judgment concerning. 5. To form a judgment or estimate. 6. To make a judgment or decision.
While we are all entitled to our opinions, it’s when we start stating them as absolutes that we get ourselves in trouble. No one here on this Earth plane is perfect. We have our flaws, our imperfections, our lessons that each of us is working on. We really are crossing the line of opinion and observation into hypocrisy when we pass judgment on others purely by what we see externally.
Tell me you have no secrets. Tell me that all that you are is revealed to the outside world. Tell me that you never hold back from speaking your personal truth. Tell me that there is no mask that you wear to the outside world to disguise who you really are internally. I will then ask you why you’re still here because, if all that were true, there would be nothing left for you to learn here and you should have ascended to the higher planes of existence.
What I will also tell you is that other people are observing you and formulating opinions – possibly passing judgment – based on what you reveal to the outside world as being you. Think about that for a while….
I’ve said it before and, once more, I will say it again – not one of us lives inside another person’s head. We have no idea what their thoughts are or, for that matter, what life experiences they’ve lived through that have created those thoughts and made them appear as they do to the outside world. They, and we, are all wounded souls, to a greater or lesser degree, wanting to find healing, love, and peace.
Why then is it so easy to point fingers and make unfounded accusations? What do we think it accomplishes for us?
I’ve had a lot of years to think about things like this. Still, these are my opinions based on observations of, not just others, but myself as well. I can’t speak to other cultures because I’ve only lived in this one, so my “expertise” is limited, to say the least. What I have observed and thought about a lot is the fact that we have a tendency to lump people together based on race, religion, cultural background/ethnicity, political beliefs, sexual orientation and more. We have a “one-size-fits-all” mentality in this culture. Therefore, if someone of a particular culture, religion, race, etc. has done something to us or has been known to have done harm to another person, we have a tendency to lump everyone that is similar into that same category.
Fear is a great motivator. We fear what we don’t understand or makes us feel helpless. Those feelings of fear and helplessness will cause rash action – usually something that makes us feel back in control again. Pointing fingers, making accusations, getting others to agree with us, all give a false feeling of power and control. The more who agree with us the better – a feeling of justification, real power. Unfortunately, it’s often more like mob-mentality, turning one group of people against another group, or an individual, without real facts.
Now I raise the question – What if you’re wrong? There have been people who have been falsely accused, convicted, and even put to death, who were later discovered to be innocent of whatever crime they were accused of. In worse case scenarios, where people have chosen to take the “law” into their own hands, those accused have been tormented, tortured, and even killed when they were guilty of nothing but being of the same race, religion, , cultural background/ethnicity, etc. as someone else who did commit a crime at another time, in another place. When that happens, if the accusers have a conscience, the guilt can be overwhelming. What was it all for? To allay your fears? To feel more powerful? To give you a false sense of safety?
Please don’t take the leap here that I’m against the justice system. What I am saying is, whether it’s on an individual or group basis, we need to be very careful of why we are accusing someone of something. Do we know the facts? Do we know the person? What is the REAL reason this person has been accused?
Recognizing our own prejudices can be very revealing. Perhaps our time and energy would be better spent admitting that we have a prejudice (or two or more) and put it under our own microscope of thought and contemplation to discover where it came from and why we continue to have it. To me, it’s a sign of a wound that needs healing. Healing cannot take place where there is hatred and fear.
This world we live in, and all the people who live here with us, could use some intense healing. Love needs to replace hate. Compassion needs to replace fear. It all begins with understanding – understanding ourselves and then taking the time to get to know and understand others. So the next time you feel the urge to point a finger, either physically or metaphorically, perhaps it would be best if you looked at that hand that’s doing the pointing – you’ll find that while one finger points to another person, three more are pointing back at you. Yes, it’s true. Take a look and remember, it all begins with YOU.