By George A. Boyd © 2019
Q: The Bible says, “thou shalt not judge.” Can you shed some light on judgment?
A: It is important to understand the levels of judgment and when each is appropriate. There are seven major types of judgment:
- Critical judgment – This finds fault with others based on your internal standards of conscience. When your conscience is vitiated, this type of judgment may give rise to egotism, prejudice, jealousy, envy, arrogance, pathological narcissism, and fanaticism.
- Decision-making judgment – This looks at the pros and cons of different options and decides which one is best. This type of judgment attempts to guide you to make the optimal decision that will bring you the best results. Professional counselors facilitate you to use this type of judgment.
- Juridical judgment – This makes decisions about guilt or innocence and sentencing based on a review of prior case law, the evidence in the case, the accused person’s prior criminal history, and the assessment of his or her probability of committing additional offenses or fleeing if released to the community. This type of judgment establishes the rule of law. Judges make these types of decisions. Attorneys argue for the conviction or defense of the accused. Legislators at the state and national level generate new laws. Law enforcement places those who violate the law and are apprehended into custody.
- Righteous judgment – This examines the consequences of action—how your actions and speech will impact others and your self. When you use this type of judgment, you attempt to choose actions that are appropriate, prudent, circumspect, efficient, causing the least amount of harm—and ideally, actions that are kind, compassionate, and wise. This type of judgment dawns in those who practice the precepts of religion. If this type of judgment is applied for long periods of time, it develops good character and saintly virtues.
- Spiritual discernment – This enables you to intuit the different layers of your Superconscious mind through the brain center of your Soul’s essential vehicle, and to realize your Soul’s true nature. Employing this type of judgment ultimately leads to enlightenment. This type of judgment blossoms in advanced aspirants and disciples.
- Higher order spiritual discernment – This enables you to discern a nucleus of identity, ensouling entity, or spirit of the Transplanetary, Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental bands of the Continuum, and to identify with it. Those that reach the Mahatma stage on the Bridge Path gain access to the interpenetrating awareness, which enables them to discern the spiritual development of others at every level of the Continuum. This type of judgment awakens in advanced disciples.
- Ministerial judgment – This type of judgment reveals the essential nature of each individual, whom the Master selects to receive spiritual ministry. It discerns what types of attunements are appropriate for aspirants and disciples at their current stage of spiritual development. Initiates utilize this form of judgment.
Scripture condemns critical judgment, when it makes comparisons of others to spurious values. These comparisons to the inner standards of conscience include:
- Your “egoic standing” – These are judgments you make about your status and how well you are doing compared to others. When you are doing well, this type of critical judgment allows you to feel superior to others. You might, for example, consider yourself to be wealthier, more intelligent, more beautiful or handsome, physically stronger, or more sophisticated or cultured than others.
- The criteria of prejudice – In this perspective, you compare others to negative stereotypes you learn about them—you presume that each member of this targeted group has these same negative characteristics. This type of critical judgment breeds hatred and intolerance; it breeds acts of discrimination, injustice, and violence.
- The criteria of jealousy – Through this filter, you consider that another person is a rival for the affections of someone you desire. It leads you to perceive only the negative characteristics of your rival, and you may attempt to sabotage the other person’s efforts to have a relationship with the one you desire.
- The criteria of envy – Through this lens, you feel you are inferior to others because they are wealthier, more beautiful or handsome, have a partner who loves them, are more famous or have greater adulation from others—and you want these things for yourself. Envy drives you to adopt a variety of defense mechanisms, including viewing what others have as flawed or defective (sour grapes); justifying your own station in life as virtuous; adopting passive aggressive stances in your relationships with these people; or finding ways to criticize or “bad mouth” them to others.
- The criteria of arrogance – When you regard others from this standpoint, you not only feel you are superior, but you also feel justified to bully, harm, or destroy others’ person, property, or reputation—especially when you believe they are competing with you for something you want. Arrogance may lead you to justify criminal or violent acts against those who you don’t like, or who oppose you.
- The criteria of narcissistic entitlement – When you adopt this attitude, anyone who doesn’t love you, obey your every wish, agree with your every decision, or remain perpetually loyal to you—you suspect them of being a traitor, you immediately belittle them, and jettison from the circle of those who currently entertain your favor. Mental health professionals refer to this behavior, when it is pronounced, as pathological narcissism.
- The criteria of demonic rage – Those who demonstrate this radical stance so strongly believe in their political or religious ideology that they hold—that if others do not follow their belief system, they are judged to be evil, and can be persecuted, tortured, or killed. This type of critical judgment underlies the mindset of the political or religious fanatic, the hate group follower, or the terrorist.
When you are able to activate your higher wisdom faculty that operates righteous judgment, you will begin to uproot these types of critical judgment. You will replace these negative character traits of critical judgment with:
- Caring for others
- Considering what is for others’ highest good
- Kindness and helpfulness
- Acceptance of others’ diversity and difference
- Tolerances of differences of belief and opinion
When you deconstruct your negative, critical judgment mindsets, you replace it with virtues. You begin to rehabilitate your character and purify your conscience. The scripture you cite admonishes you to work form the platform of righteous judgment, so you can engage in this ongoing project of character transformation, thereby turning your vice into virtue, your ignorance into wisdom.
To facilitate this healing of your conscience and rehabilitation of your character, you may wish to contemplate each of the virtues listed above, and identify how you might express these virtues in your relationships with others. The meditation of the pairs of opposites in our intermediate courses—the in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program—will help you develop these virtues.
It is important to understand that this scripture is not asking you to abandon discernment, to not administer the law if you are a judge, or refrain from making optimal personal choices—it is asking you to root out the negative aspects of critical judgment and replace them with wisdom and virtue.
You also need to be clear that not all forms of judgment are negative: it is the negative attitudes of critical judgment that you must remove.