The Flip Side of Judgment

Judge not lest ye be judged.
Don’t judge me!
Why are you so judgmental?
Who are you to judge me?

As often as we hear these phrases or similar ones, we might think that judgment is out of style. No one wants to be judged, right?

Wrong. Everyone wants judgment.

Before you tell me I’m crazy, think with me about a few examples.

Our family recently discovered The Great British Baking Show on TV. We were already fans of other cooking shows such as Chopped and Iron Chef America. Those shows are about judgment.

The first show I mentioned begins with 13 amateur bakers (a baker’s dozen!) and on each show they bake three items. Each baker is judged on what they produce. At the end of the show one person is pronounced to be the star baker and one person is cut. This continues for a number of weeks until there are three people left for a final show where only one is pronounced the winner.

The show is based around judgment and it has been wildly popular for 10 seasons.

Another popular TV show based on judgment that spawned a host of similar shows has been American Idol. This show was even a spin off of a British show called Pop Idol. Rather than judging food, this show judges participants based on the music they produce.

People have been judging and being judged and the ratings are skyrocketing.

Perhaps the best example of judgment across American culture is found in news about sports. Newspapers have always had a sports page. ESPN is a TV channel dedicated to sports and commentary surrounding them. Sport Illustrated and other magazines provide another medium for what? For people to judge sports.

These news outlets don’t simply publish scores of games. They judge players and coaches – their abilities, their failures, and their decisions. Instant reply is a way to judge the referees who judge the way the game is played.

We love judgment. We love to watch people get judged. We love to judge others.

You might say, “Sure. I love to watch these judgments on TV, and read them online, but I’m not on those shows and I’m not in a professional sport.”

But we judge our produce and meat in the grocery store. We judge stores based on the quality, type, and price of merchandise they sell. We judge people whether they shop at Wal-Mart or at Nordstrom. We judge the driver of the car in front and behind us in a split second hundreds of times per day.

It’s time we accepted it. We want judgment.

Our family was on the edge of our seats watching people on another continent baking food that we will never taste as they were judged. When the winner was declared on the baking show, I almost cried. This is the flip side of judgment that often gets lost.

Everyone judges in order to seek out the good, the beautiful, the true.

All of us want to praise that which is truly magnificent or excellent. We judge because we love what we believe is right. We want to celebrate good cooking, good sports teams, good art, and even good driving. (When was the last time you waved to someone who slowed down to let you in their lane?)

We judge in order that we may praise.

How we judge and who has a right to judge and who should be judged are all matters of disagreement and a topic for another post. It’s enough to start by seeing that judgment is something, whether or not we are willing to admit it, that is second nature to us all. It is a function of our desire to experience the best that life has to offer.

How do the judgments you make today reveal the good you are seeking?

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