Judgement vs. Curiosity

A few years ago I was hanging out with one of my sisters and we were talking about judging others. Her mentor had suggested to her that instead of looking at a situation or person from a place of judgement, come from a place of curiosity. Here is a typical female example.

You see a woman walking down the street wearing an outfit you wouldn’t be caught dead in. There are various patterns, a rainbow of colours and shoes that really clash (in your opinion) with the rest of the outfit. Or you think her clothes are way too revealing, or not age appropriate, or way too small for her body type. (There are too many situations to list.)

If you are being judgemental, the thought that would pop into your head would be something along the lines of, “What in the world is she wearing? That is the ugliest (fill in other words here) outfit I have ever seen!”

If you come from a place of curiosity instead, the thought might be more along the lines of, “What made her decide to wear that outfit today?”

The judgement statement is very negative and you are more likely to think negatively of her. The curious statement is neither negative or positive but you may be less likely to think negatively about the person as a whole.

Then a few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Pinterest when I came across a post that related to my sister’s coaching moment.

A woman was confessing that she was a bad person for judging others then tried to remind herself that she needed to be positive instead of judgemental and negative. (I think we all have these moments, if we are honest with ourselves.)

In response to this woman’s confession, someone posted this:

“I was always taught by my mother that the first thought that goes through your mind is what you have been conditioned to think. What you think next defines who you are.”

I don’t know if this is truly accurate but it is certainly something to think about.

They say hatred is learned. None of us are born hating others. Hatred is not a natural thought process. It is something we pass onto our children.

It makes me think about what I may have inadvertently taught my children, especially my daughter. remember, I did not come into the lives of my other children until they were teenagers. For a long time, it was just her and me. And I went through a lot of tough years so what did I really teach her?

So many of us grew up in a household where all we heard was judgment. It gets to the point where we either become numb to the judgement of others or we become highly sensitive to it. Even when we continue to hear it from our parents, no matter their age, it plagues us. We have to somehow learn to not take it personally, which is very difficult because they are our parents.

How do we get past the judgement?

If we are passing judgement on others, as I mentioned earlier, try to appraise them with curiosity. Or ignore them, or at least the issue, altogether. Depending on the person, that can be very difficult. The other option is to just accept it. Everyone is different. People dress differently. People behave differently. We need to accept them for who they are and love them like Jesus does.

If we are receiving judgement from others, including our parents, there are a couple of options as well. Depending on the relationship, you could try to lovingly correct them. Some people may accept the correction but many will not. At that point, we need to act like Jesus and accept it for what it is. Someone’s negative opinion and judgement is often based on their own negative beliefs and nothing to do with you.

When Jesus was wrongly tried, the people had their beliefs based on the propaganda they were being fed from the leaders who wanted Him killed. They were afraid of what He was capable of (See John 11). They wouldn’t (or couldn’t) understand His greater purpose. They judged Him based on their beliefs and fears.

The next time you find yourself judging someone, ask yourself, “Why?” Why are you judging them? What is really behind the judgement? Are you afraid or jealous of them? Or are you just trying to impress others?

If you are being judged, ask yourself why the person has that opinion of you. What might THEY be struggling with for them to think that about you? Then ask Jesus to heal their hurting heart.

Please share with me examples of how changing your thought process about someone changed your opinion of them.

2 thoughts on “Judgement vs. Curiosity

  1. When I was a new teacher I learned quickly not to judge the students by what they wore or how long their hair was (for the boys). My first day of teaching a young man dressed in black leather from head to toe, carrying a motorcycle helmet, 6′ 4″ and 225 lbs, strode into my room. He was 19 or 20. I was 24. I thought I was done for. He was very intimidating. Turned out he was returning to school and ended up trying to help me get the other yahoos in the class to smarten up, behave and do the work. After that I always tried to find out more about a student before making any judgments about them. A lot of the time my first impressions were off base. I’ll never forget Dave!

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