Religion Magazine

Judge Not, Condemn Not

By Ldsapologetics
Einstein was a patent clerk. Lincoln was a small town lawyer. Plato, Socrates and Shakespeare were teachers. Jesus was a carpenter. To judge a persons wisdom, intellect and worth based on their occupation falls short of accurately assessing their worth and potential to the point of being wildly offensive.
And if the occupations of these men were no indicator of their greatness then how is your occupation any measure of yours?
If cable news had been around in Lincoln's time they would have sought the opinions of senators and congress men about what was best for America but they never would have sought the opinion of a small town lawyer as a small town lawyer would not have had the expertise on what government should do or how to do it. But Lincoln had much more potential that his occupation would have revealed.
If the press in Einsteins time had to look for the man who would revolutionize the world of physics they would have searched universities. They would never have thought to check in on a patent clearly as he day dreamed his day away on the scientific papers that would change the work in the first few years of the 20th century. Einstein had no credibility until he published those papers. And then his occupation no longer mattered.
Before Shakespeare was a playwright he was a teacher. He had plenty of critics whose names are forgotten to all but scholars. But he was not taken seriously as a genius until after his death. He enjoyed popularity in his time but few recognized his genius during his life.
He was the most human human who ever lived I would say. His insight into the human condition isn't just riveting it's deeper than Sigmund Freud's. At least to me. But Shakespeare came from a small town and had an average education. And because of this the great knowledge displayed in his plays have lead many to say he never wrote any of them! He was underestimated his whole life and still is by a large section of people.
Genius just needs a chance, an opportunity to shine and it most definitely will. Never underestimate what genius can accomplish. Even from the most unlikely of people from the most unlikely of backgrounds.
Carl Sagan said this about books;
"A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic."

Each of the men I have mentioned live on in their own words and in those written by others. They didn't just leave an imprint in history, they are still changing it.

Jesus is the best example of this. He worked as a carpenter until He turned 30 and then He began His ministry by calling fishermen, zealots, tax collectors and others to His ministry to help Him spread His word. These disciples were not part of the religious elite; the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees.

Jesus and His disciples were outcasts because they were not part of the elite. But so were the majority of His people. Jesus ministered to the outcasts, the lepers, thrives, tax collectors, zealots and sinners of every stripe. Even some Romans sought Him out.

If there were cable news outlets in His time Christ would have been bashed for not being a Biblical scholar as were the Pharisees. He knew scripture better than most but since He had no earthly title He would not have been taken seriously. He was a carpenter from Galilee. And after all what good can come from Galilee?

Because He was no earthly ruler or king or magistrate or scholar He was not taken seriously until He was deemed a threat to their power because He had the support of the people. Because Jesus brought His ministry to the poor, the lepers, the ordinary every day outcasts they grew to love and support Him despite His lack of "qualifications."

So if it sounds silly to judge these men by their qualifications then why do we judge each other in the same way? When we meet someone new we ask their name and the question that follows is "what do you do?(for a living)" To me that question tells us about as much about a person as it does to judge them by what they drive or to introduce ourselves as Mr.Toyota or Mr.Buick. It in no way speaks to our worth, our potential, our wisdom, our intellect or any other trait which does speak to who we are and what we can become.

When we judge on appearance, we see only the tip of the ice berg.

Jesus taught this about judging based on appearance; "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24
Righteous judgment means to give the benefit of the doubt. Or in other words to judge favorably, with the scales weighted towards kindness and compassion rather than guilt and contempt.
Here I provide the Hebrew text along with the translation which indicates what Jesus likely meant by righteous judgment.

יהושע בן פרחיה אומר עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות


Joshua ben Perahia would say: Make for yourself a Rav (teacher), and acquire for yourself a colleague, and give all individuals the benefit of the doubt. [Translation by CAJE]

Dreams only flourish when nourished. We ought to give others the benefit of the doubt long enough for them to show us who they really are before we condemn them based on what they wear, what they drive or what they don't, how their hair is cut and so on.

We are taught to judge righteously by giving the benefit of the doubt and to not be superficial. We are taught to condemn not. Because with how harsh we judge or condemn we will be judged by that same standard by God. 

Judge wisely.

As Bob Marley said "Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."

Judge Not, Condemn Not

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