JUDGE: A loaded word
I just attended a leadership conference where one of the main themes was to avoid judging others. The message seemed to be, if you judge you are evil. If you judge, you should feel shame, embarrassment, and should stop.
Yet, is this really what “judge” means? The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of “judge” is: to form an opinion about a matter through careful weighing of evidence and testing of a premise, or an opinion or decision based on careful thought.
It seems to me, looking around our current society, we need to judge. However, what we do not need is society adulterating a word to discourage dialogue and discussion.
Back to the conference. While stressing the need to not “judge,” the very people teaching that concept judged much. For example, negative, or sarcastic comments included, “I know this is Idaho” or “you know how small towns are.” It is the height of hypocrisy when we say “do what I say, but not what I do.”
May I suggest, rather than discouraging people from careful thought, we use the word condemn. The definition of “condemn” in the Merriam Webster dictionary is: “to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong.”
The use of the word condemn would accomplish two purposes. First, hypocrisy would be greatly reduced for those who say judge not, but in reality, are judging much. Second, we preserve a beautiful word that encourages careful thought, responsibility and weighing of evidence.