Whether or not we want to face it, judgment is a part of our everyday routine. Our judgment and perception of others affects everything from what we wear to who we dine with to who we vote for. In some form or another we are judging and being judged all the time. The degree to which we judge and what we judge varies and depends on our personalities and life experiences. Some judge actions, while others judge appearances and some use a combination of factors to access who and what they allow in their lives.
As I think about my peers and the college lifestyle, I can’t help but believe judgment and perception is probably at its peak at this stage in our lives. While walking through the brickyard I can see how judgment and perception affects the groups we are members of. Of course, no one is the same and people from all races, social classes, and backgrounds interact, but there are always the stereotypical groups. You know, the athletes, the preps, the nerds, the blacks, the whites. Generally, we have something in common with the people we associate with, but we also choose to associate with them based on the judgments and perceptions we make of who they appear to be and who they eventually show us they are. These relationships are based partly on judgment and perception. They are also started, maintained, and ended based on judgment and perception.
Websites and website applications like Juicy Campus and Facebook’s Honesty Box are constructed solely to anonymously put forth the opinions and judgments of others. Someone receiving this type of attention either good or bad may not consider it relevant because of the source’s anonymity, but the opinions are still lurking in cyberspace, and in some cases for everyone to see. Personally, I would question the credibility of information from sites like these, but on college campuses this type of media has been known to ruin reputations.
It continues to raise the age old question of who are we to judge? Theoretically, there is no one judge. Most people tend to think that their higher power is their only judge, but ruthless vendettas and technology are beginning to prove otherwise. These judgments may not always be valid or may not directly affect one’s life, but they can be damning to one’s reputations.
So, the next time you begin to form an opinion about the girl who parties a lot or the guy who does drugs, ask yourself two serious questions. What has brought them to this point and who am I to judge? Seldom do we think about the situations that bring people to whatever state we happen to be judging. All we seem to see is here and now. Perhaps many people don’t think about it, but if you are miserable enough to publicly ridicule someone, someone is miserable enough to do the same thing to you. Judgment is something we will never be able to escape, but if we begin to make a conscious effort to first judge ourselves and second judge less harshly, our perceptions and implications may prove to be something other than damning to others’ reputations. 1 Samuel 24:15 says, “May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”