Judging and judging (krinos and anakrinos) in daily life

I judge hundreds of times every day. It’s the human condition. I decide what to make my kids for breakfast, I discern whether a second cup of coffee is a good idea, I issue a verdict on whether E. can stay up late. White bread or whole wheat? Organic or local or affordable? Cloth or plastic?

I make these decisions for myself. I discern (anakrinos) far enough to see whether or not I will repeat an action I see in the world.

What I try very hard not to do is pass judgment on others (krinos). It’s not my place. You are living your life, and I wish you well in it. I have no desire to make those decisions for you. I have enough to do in faithfully figuring out what the heck I am supposed to be doing.

“I’m glad you got to spend some time with {random girl I don’t know well who likes Babywise}. So you could, you know, see that she does actually care about her kids.”

Just because I belong to the La Leche League does NOT mean that I think anyone who lets their child cry for a few minutes at bedtime is an uncaring mother. For the record, I think no such thing.

The misunderstanding comes when we make a decision about what we are doing and it’s different from what others decided. We have discerned with all the faculties available to us, and we move in a direction. Why is that movement so often taken as a condemnation of anyone not moving in the exact same direction? Why must we take each other’s choices so personally? Just as your life isn’t about me, neither is mine about you.

I make the decisions I make for a reason. I gather as much information as I can, then move forward. When someone asks me why I am making some decision, I am happy to share my reasons. Too happy, it seems. It turns out, when people are asking me why I do something, sometimes what they are really asking is, “am I a terrible person because I don’t do what you do?” Well, friend, the answer is most assuredly no.

If you don’t read as insecure, people assume you are judgmental. So which is it, Kate? What’s it going to be? Well, I choose neither. I will not spend my life assuming I must be doing all the wrong things. But I will also not spend it making sure that everyone else feels like they are doing the wrong thing so that I can feel better about my choices. This is a false choice that really represents two sides of the same problem. I choose neither.

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