Being quick to judge puts one’s judgment into question.
Go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, TV shows, Shock Jocks on the Radio and see/hear examples of people being quick to judge someone else. Is this helping our society or tearing it down one judgment at a time?
Eight years ago, and seconds after the media released a recording of Alec Baldwin saying his eleven-year-old daughter was a “rude, thoughtless little pig,” people were judging him a terrible father. Assumptions quickly followed that ex-wife Kim Basinger leaked the voicemail with malicious intent.
Baldwin regretted losing his temper. He referred to his words as a mistake like other parents make now and then. Later, Basinger denied leaking the voicemail. Yet assumptions without facts still swirl. Was it appropriate what Baldwin said? Of course not. But, was it right for people to be quick to judge him as an unfit father?
Mr. Baldwin continues to get caught up in the swirl of controversy and judgment.
More than twenty years ago, I had my own bad experience of people quick to judge. It was at the tail end of an executive director job I held for a sport association.
One of the initiatives I coordinated was a combination of two half-time employee grants to hire a full time employee. After serving the association for four years I moved on to pursue my dream of competing in the Olympics in Speed Skiing.
A few short weeks after I left there was a new volunteer treasurer who announced to the board that I had embezzled money from the association. There were ten people sitting around that boardroom. Nine immediately said, “Wow, Vince is a crook.” Only one called me, without the board’s consent, and asked what was up. Eventually we figured out there were those two govenment hiring HALF-grants that were combined into one position. But, for some reason, the rookie treasurer assumed this represented two employee positions and questioned where their halves of the money ended up.
Nine people ignored all the hard work and commitment that I gave their association. They turned on me. Ouch! Twenty plus years later it still hurts to think about it. Turning your back on someone can cause pain and do damage. Being quick to judge is the fastest way to make things worse, not better.
A few years ago I heard a friend spit venomous comments about Bob who, "left his wife and kids." My friend was quick to judge without any understanding of both sides of the story. He went on to say how others also turned on Bob.
I sent Bob a letter about how painful it must be and the unfortunate reaction some people had. I iterated how my experience of Bob was always positive. I hoped he was able to take the high road in all things. Bob wrote back moved that "at least one person wasn't quick to judge."
To avoid the pitfalls of jumping to conclusions there are three things to consider:
- If it’s your business then make it your business to find out both sides of the story.
- It it’s not your business; mind your own business. You gain or contribute nothing by being quick to judge without the facts.
- Reach out to those who may have been judged unfairly and write them a non-judgmental message. You will turn the tides of distrust and contribute to a solution.
Do this and your judgment cannot be questioned. Society will be the better for it.