We all do this. And I'm telling you right now, it has to stop.

It’s the thing I take to the confessional every time I go.

And I hate it.

Maybe it’s been the conversations I’ve had with friends lately, or recent events or perhaps just some old-fashioned self-reflection. Whatever it is, I’m worried about how we, as Christians, are really loving our fellow people.

We’re quick to blame and quick to migrate toward those who are like us. We surround ourselves with only Catholics, or moms, or Aggies, or whites, or straight, or {insert whatever label I missed here}. But God doesn’t call us to be hospitable to just those who are like us, but those who are different from us.

It’s a dangerous game of judging people by their social media profile picture or a single tweet. We’ve boiled down opinions to 140 characters, or less. We’re making dangerous assumptions about people we’ve never met, shaken a hand with or even been in the same room with – how dare we do that.

Truthfully? I worry that we’re hiding behind our faith to justify our judgment.

I worry that a conversation that started out as well-meaning is turning into gossip and then a judgment of that person’s parenting skills, vocation choice or morality is where we somehow end. I’m tired of this checklist that everyone must conform to our rules of what makes a perfect parent/mom/wife/friend/person – it’s dangerous, y’all.

What looks right for our family may not be right for yours and that’s okay.

I’m not talking about moral relativism here – I still believe in the moral code, that there are intrinsic evils in the world. But what if we are aiding the evil? What if we are somehow appointing ourselves judge and juror and then shaking our heads and muttering a kind, but not, “bless her heart?”

I’m just done with it.

Okay, the priest will probably tell you (if he could) that I will probably struggle with judgment for quite some time. It’s a human fault of ours. But I do believe it is a dangerous path to assess a person based on what we think we know.

In this age of quick texts and comments, likes and follows, we are quick to “know” someone, but we rarely make time to have meaningful face-to-face conversations with real-live people to build real-life relationships.

I’m not saying it can’t be done via social media (I’ve made some beautiful connections there) but the ones that last, the one that remain, are those whom I’ve taken the time to get to know. We’ve sat at table, we’ve laughed over margaritas and eaten too much chocolate, we’ve shared a wordless hug or a tight hand squeeze. And I find myself in a protective mama bear mode because those friends aren’t always Catholic or pro-life, some of them despise Harry Potter (gasp!) and some are Jewish, others are recovering alcoholics, gay and some are single parents. We keep synthesizing someone’s life into a quick, neat package without getting to know the whole person.

That’s not what Jesus asks of us.

It doesn’t diminish who I am, what I believe or what I stand for, but it has opened my eyes to be kind, to be respectful and to meet people where they are. The beauty of getting older, I suppose.

I’m already cringing at what 26yo Kathryn would’ve said, and as I read older posts on my blog, I can see how much I’ve changed, how generous many of you have been in helping me get here from there, and just how much farther I have to go. We all do.

So that dangerous habit we have of judging another’s soul? Let’s stop that – for reals – and instead of jumping headfirst into the pool of judgment let’s pause, grab a glass of sweet tea and ask them to sit, sip awhile and chat.

After all, it’s how a great friendship is born.

13 Comments

  1. Laura on November 8, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    LLLLOOOOVVVVEEEE This!!! Totally agree!!! Thanks for reminding all of us.

    • Kathryn on November 8, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Thank you

  2. Kristen on November 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Such a perfect read for today. Thank you for keeping it real.

  3. Aileen on November 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    You really put this out there! This is a great post and something which I have been slowly, ever so slowly, trying to learn. I know this is coming from God because I have just been hit lately with what a critical and judgmental spirit I have. I don’t like that part of my personality. It’s humbling for sure. Thank you for this! 🙂

  4. Jean on November 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Would sit and sip tea (or a glass of vino) with you anytime ❤️

    • Kathryn on November 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Miss that!

  5. Lis on November 8, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Amen, sister! I caught myself judging someone yesterday (you-re right- we all do it) and I’m working on fixing that. It’s just too easy with how our society is configured with social media and everything,

    • Kathryn on November 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      YES. I mean, I love me some social media (hello blog), but maaaan, does it test your judgey side sometimes.

  6. […] Kathryn Whitaker, “The Dangerous Thing We All Do”: […]

  7. Sophia Ruiz on November 11, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Wow!! My friend and I were just talking of this “judgemental” issue after leaving Adoration last night. We both thought how much greater our parish would be if we all would loosen the tight grip on “rules and religion” and exchange it for “relationship”.

    • Kathryn on November 11, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Adoration is such a beautiful thing. It helps put it all into perspective.

  8. Annmarie on November 12, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Amen!

  9. […] The Dangerous Thing We All Do by Team Whitaker […]

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