Less Judgment, More Observation

On the one hand, many people are familiar with the teaching of Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  (Matthew 7:1-2, New International Version) On the other hand, Christians are instructed to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, New International Version)  There is some fine print about the “Do not judge…” passage.

The word “judgment” has already appeared multiple times in Steps to Knowledge, and in all the instances so far, the context is that it is a hindrance to one’s knowing.  Judgment could be thought of as a habit of mental or moral sloth, a refusal to further examine the context or motivation of someone or some action.

Error exists, and it is something to avoid, because it has painful consequences.  Is judgment an error?  It looks that way from my perspective.  Someone will ask, “Then what should I do instead?”  The answer given by both step 29 and step 30 is to observe.  In step 29, I’m observing myself; in step 30, I’m observing the world.  The phrase “without judgment” appears 4 times in 7 sentences in step 30.  I surmise from this that I’m not supposed to observe so that I can come to a more informed judgment.  I’m being asked to cultivate observation, and starve, de-cultivate, the habit of judgment.


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1 thought on “Less Judgment, More Observation

  1. I surmise the same thing from this Step. What I get from it is that when I observe, I am learning how to be objective, and being objective precludes being judgmental. Observation calls for a certain amount of passivity, or perhaps impartiality would be a better word. Observing means not becoming emotionally involved, or allowing my emotions to color the way I see things, i.e. being judgmental. Observing allows me to get out of my mind and look at things objectively, including my thoughts, and then adjust them accordingly. A very useful Step.

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