My friend astutely observed that being “Judgmental” can be a sledgehammer or a scalpel.
Today, our culture uses the term “Judgmental” as a sledgehammer. Any assessment of one person toward another is bad – unkind, at best, despicable, at worst. Unfortunately, our culture is half-right.
Certainly, the arbitrary labeling of someone, based upon a difference of opinion, intended to hurt, with no correction for the better, is bad, unkind, and despicable. However, an accurate assessment of destructive behavior, that needs to be corrected for the good of the person and society, is a life-saving scalpel. That distinction with a difference is lost on today’s culture. Hence, labeling all judgment as bad.
As a result, “troubled students”, that desperately need medical & emotional intervention, simply revolve between the classroom and the Principal’s Office, without getting the help they need. No one wants to be “Judgmental” and tarnish the students’ self-esteem.
Then we are shocked. Shocked! When a disturbed student enters a school and kills a dozen innocent people. We blame the guns because it is expedient and fashionable. But, we don’t blame ourselves for not making the proper “Judgement”, that would have helped that student, and saved a dozen lives.
Making an honest, accurate assessment of the reality of destructive behavior, and making the proper caring solution to resolve the disturbed motivation, is in the best interest of the particular person, and society as a whole. Then, being judgmental is a life-saving scalpel.
Troubled children are not a new phenomenon. In Socrates’ day, youth, called “Contrarians”, actually walked backwards. Seneca’s essay, “O Tempora! O Mores!” chronicled the disturbing behavior of Roman youth. Our refusal to identify and treat the real problem, because we eschew being “Judgmental”, is “New.”
If we cannot recognize, despise, and destroy evil, then we are lost. Edmund Burke warned, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing.”
Equally sinister, is our forsaking the “good”, in search of the “perfect”. Ironically, this is the reciprocal-inverse of an honest, accurate “judgment”. For example, we chastise the “Founding Fathers” for owning slaves, while ignoring their historical brilliance for the establishment of a government, “Of the people, by the people, and for the people” to provide “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
We diminish Lincoln’s integrity and courage to fight a Civil War over the “Emancipation Proclamation”, freeing the slaves our forefathers forgot, because aspects of prejudice lingered for over a century later.
Our culture is equally wrong’ by ignoring the good of our forefathers, and incorrectly labeling others today as “Judgmental” for recognizing evil and attempting to correct it.
Perhaps, our culture can rectify its errors about being “Judgmental”, and use the life-saving scalpel of caring, honest judgment to help others, and society as a whole. Innocent lives depend on it.