The Human Condition of Judgment

Something happened recently that inspired me to write this. Maybe it’s because this stuff happens too often, or because I’ve personally been a victim of false judgments, criticism, and even malicious slander by people making judgments without facts, that I’m a bit more sensitive.

I recently had ankle surgery and, while my foot’s recovering nicely, once in a while I bump it on the leg of a chair and am instantly reminded I’m not completely healed. Usually, a seemingly minor bump, like one I had several days ago, results in a few days of agonizing ankle pain.

I ran a quick errand to Yokes in Post Falls, Idaho on Thursday. As I walked out of the grocery store the ankle pain gripped me to the point I avoided taking any extra steps and was quick to unload the groceries as soon as I got to my car.

Normally, I take the extra effort to push the empty cart to its designated spot, but this time I desperately needed to get off my foot. I pushed the mini cart to the dividing line between the parking spaces as I’ve seen countless carts left, and left it there making sure it wasn’t in anyone’s way when they pulled in or out, and was relieved to sit in my car.

About this time, a heavyset woman with a bright peachy-orange shirt and reddish hair, probably early 60s; had already unloaded her groceries into the beige SUV facing me. We had parked nose to nose. She quickly took her cart to the nearby designated cart spot and was about to get into the passenger side of her car. Just then she saw my cart, and said something to the man in the driver’s seat I assumed to be her husband, and in an exaggerated huff pushed my cart to where she’d pushed hers.

The husband, watching it all, made it a point to look at me and deliberately shake his head for an extended period of time.

I actually thought of getting out and explaining I’d push mine all the way too if my foot wasn’t throbbing, but decided it wasn’t worth more pain. Someone else might just flip him the bird, but I just drove off with the man’s I-can’t-believe-you’re-so-lazy headshaking stare searing into my mind.

Most likely they discussed me along with all the other things wrong with the world as they drove off, but I decided this one’s on them. I could’ve shamed them by taking their picture and posting it along with this, but that’s not my style. Hopefully, my picture wasn’t taken and posted somewhere with:  This woman was too lazy to put her stinking cart where it belonged caption.

I just hope this couple doesn’t live in my neighborhood, but if they do, I’ll still treat them well if I run into them. Maybe this will eventually land on their Facebook page, but I doubt it. Perhaps someday, this self-righteous couple will stand before God and have this incident flash on the screen of their lives.

The lady’s huffy attitude was one thing, but the man’s behavior really bugged me. That he’d dared to judge my character and try and shame me as if he’d caught me stealing.

Isn’t that just what Jesus referred to when he said not to focus on the fleck in someone’s eye until you’ve taken an inventory of how many it’s taken to create the beam in yours? (my paraphrasing of Bible verse Matthew 7:3-5)

I am so fed up with false judgments, criticism, and slander coming from self-righteous people without ever giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. And yes, I know there are plenty of people who strain at doing the right thing; but they’re always going to be with us, just like taxes.

Sure, I‘m guilty of self-righteous judgment myself. However, the more golden my years become the stronger my desire to change that. When God puts a mirror to my face I quickly ask His forgiveness. Romans 14:13 warns of not placing a stumbling block in someone’s way with unrighteous judgment. In the last few years God’s taught me to remember what hard times feel like, and to be more aware of what may be going in on in someone’s life before I’m so sure I know everything.

Perhaps the waitress at the restaurant is slow because she is just as fatigued as I was when I had to work multiple jobs to support my kids as a newly divorced mom, and still couldn’t pay all my bills.

Perhaps the cashier seems unfriendly and distracted because she’s blown away by a tragic incident in her life. I was a robot for many months after my son’s death.

Maybe the person with the slight limp didn’t push her cart where it belonged because pain wouldn’t let her take another step.

The thing is, we don’t get to wear anyone else’s shoes but ours. People deserve grace, and to be seen as God sees them, regardless of what we may think.

By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2013-2017 ©


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2 responses to “The Human Condition of Judgment


    Very good word Liz. As Yom Kippur starts for some and finishes for others, I’ve had to take a good look at myself….I recently had someone tell me that they have never felt judged by me and that blesses her. She is a home schooling mom of 3 very rambunctious kids and sufferes from burn out. I just remember how it was for me and how ppl prejudged me without having all the facts. It hurts…I have made it a point not to judge others but sometimes I fail. Thank you for reminding me of my self righteousness and that I sometimes judge others in my mind without having all the facts. May my Father Yah forgive me of my short comings. Love you…miss you so much. May you be filled with much LOVE, JOY and SHALOM!!! 😀 Deb

    • We all fall short, Deb. The thing is when judgments based on presumptions continue as an ongoing destructive behavior it causes great division and becomes that stumbling block that wrecks lives. We both know what it’s like to be presumptuously judged. I’m happy for your friend, that she’s able to feel a freedom around you. That’s a gift in itself. The Lord God knows all about our shortcomings and still loves us. What a marvelous thing He does for us! That’s a gift meant to free us, and one we are to pay forward. Shalom to you, and may the love and joy of Christ never leave your home. Love you, and miss you, Liz

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