“Don’t judge me, but…” is a phrase all of us use or hear multiple times a day. Usually, this phrase precedes a statement that we think may be deemed “weird” or out of the ordinary.
For example, I’ve said, “don’t judge me, but I was in marching band in high school” on multiple occasions. Then one day, I caught myself – why did I think people would judge me for that?! Just because I was a band nerd doesn’t mean I should be ashamed of it… I freakin’ loved marching band and I’m not afraid to say it. However, whenever I said something about band and how much I enjoyed it, people would laugh and say things like, “you don’t seem like you’d be the type to be in band” or, “oh you must’ve been SUPER cool in high school”. What they didn’t know is that band changed my life – from participating in All-State band to placing 3rd at the WGI World Championships (drum line and percussion ensemble competition), I made life-long friendships and met so many people who positively impacted my life. Through drum-line, I became the driven, dedicated, and confident person I am today. The people who judged me did so before they knew my entire backstory – this is so typical of our society.
We’re all guilty of judging someone we don’t know.
We may judge them based upon what we’ve heard from other people, the way they present themselves in public, or who they associate with. This is so, so unfair. That boy who bullied you in middle school? His father beat him every night. That girl that sleeps around and can’t maintain long term relationships? Her self esteem is in the tank because no one ever told her how beautiful and loved she is. That boy in class who everyone thinks is weird and annoying? He has Asperger’s but is too ashamed to tell anyone. That girl that cut all of her friends off 2nd semester of freshman year? She was suffering from debilitating depression and couldn’t even get out of bed – yet, people talked behind her back, calling her horrible names and assuming she was “just a b*tch”.
So, why do we feel the need to judge these people? What gives us the right to make a decision about someone’s heart when we’re too selfish to even hear their story? As a society, we’ve become self-righteous and egoistic, prompting us to expect immediate gratification in everything we do. We don’t want to take the time to get to know someone – we would rather judge them quickly in order to determine if we should pursue a relationship with them.
This is the opposite of what the Lord calls us to do.
“’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:31]
If this is the greatest commandment, why do people so fervently defy it? How would we feel if others judged us as we judge them?
By treating someone unfairly, we’re failing to acknowledge that this person is a child of God and our Brother or Sister in Christ. We are all made in the perfect image of God –
“’… when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.” [Matthew 25:40]. Christ is in everyone, and we should treat others in a way that regards this ideal.
We should never have to fear the judgment of others, nor should we be so self-seeking that we fail to love and build up our neighbor. “Don’t judge me, but…” is a phrase that should be completely eradicated and forgotten.
This movement starts with us.
As individuals, we must alter our attitudes and actions, thus opening our hearts and allowing us to show compassion and kindness to everyone we encounter. You never know when a simple smile or a small conversation could make someone’s day or even save their life.
Next time you see that bully from middle school, smile at him. Next time you see that girl who struggles with relationships, tell her how beautiful she is and how much she is loved. Next time you see that “weird” boy from class, sit next to him and get to know his heart. Next time you see that girl who is struggling with depression, just love her and be there for her.
“… He that is without sin … let him first cast a stone…” [John 8:7]
Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you. We are all so incredibly loved by our Savior, and we should never fail display that Christ-like love toward others.
Love your neighbor, y’all. 🙂