… lest ye be judged.
So spake Jesus, and what exactly did he mean by it, anyway?
I thought about it a bit, and talked it over with Kristin, and came to some conclusions.
It all ties back to the Garden of Eden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Does anyone still think that story is literal rather than allegory?
Judging is when you say what someone else is, a statement about the quality of their being rather than a statement of the quality of their actions. For example, "You're so intelligent!" "He's a good kid." "George Bush is evil."
When you make statements such as those – when you judge – you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and set yourself in a position of dominance over the person judged. After all, you're the one hereby qualified to make that judgment of hir!
But by accepting that paradigm – eating that fruit – you accept also that others can (and will) judge you, and thereby grant them authority and dominion over you. You accept others as your judges.
It is the heart of the domination culture in which we live and suffer, the one that says the rich deserve to keep and waste all of their immense wealth, and the mentally ill deserve to be cast out to beg on street corners and sleep under bridges.
We don't have to leave the Garden of Eden. We don't have to buy into the paradigm of judgment. We can choose.
Because if you don't believe in good and evil, if you don't make judgments about the quality of other people or animals or events, if you don't judge them – their judgments have no power over you.
This is the paradigm that NVC teaches.
I believe that this is the heart of Jesus' gospel, even more than "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or any other aspect. Certainly more than damnation and hellfire, or sin.
I'm starting to get it, but it's still too easy to judge. I have so many needs unmet when I hear of the crimes and policies that the Bush administration commits, that even though in my head I know they're just human beings doing their best to meet needs, just like me, I still feel in my heart that they're evil. And when Christians judge me so harshly because they don't like the way I live, and try to keep me from marrying who I want to or entering restrooms appropriate to my gender, I still think they are ignorant hypocrites. My own judgments that cast me out of the Garden and subject me to the power of their judgments.
I'm working on it.
I want to get back into the Garden.