The Hamster Wheel
On Monday of this week, I went to Kroger to pick up a few items. As I walked through the store in a hurried fashion and I noticed a couple that I would normally speak with in the coffee aisle. Since I was on a short schedule, I chose to walk around the aisle to avoid any conversation with them. In doing so, I was essentially judging them by assuming that they were going to talk by ears off and delay me from getting to my next task. Later that day, a friend told me that her parents saw me at Kroger and they asked her why didn’t I say hello to them. She defended me to her parents by saying that I must have been in a hurry. This conversation resulted in me explaining to my friend that I was short on time and had to keep moving. After leaving this dialogue, I immediately felt angered and thought to myself, who are they to judge me, for they don’t know all that I have to do today. But the reality is, it would have taken less time and been more enjoyable if I would have just said hello to them at Kroger rather than having to defend myself later that day. Scenarios happen like this all time for each of us where we assume the accuser passing judgment is wrong, and we are always right. But when I stared in the mirror that night before bed, my conscious reminded me that I alone was the judge in Kroger that day, not the elderly couple in the coffee aisle.
Regardless if we think so or not, everyone can be guilty of judging another person. It is easy to picture someone who has offended, harmed or rejected us in the past. In nearly every case, the pain we suffer is related to the judgment we passed onto the person and not the actual event. When we emotionally attach a “why did this happen to me?” phrase into our brains, we are essentially giving the person or the event significant power. By adding significance or justification to our pain, we are judging of the other person. So in effect, whether we realize or not, the judge is in and around us, every day. It can show up in situations like when we enter a room, we secretly judge the brands and styles of clothes others are wearing. While at work, we judge a person’s greeting if it is not to our liking. We will judge our superior if she recommends that we need to improve on something. To continue with that theme, we can also want justice if someone wrecks your car, steals money from you or physically abuses us Now, I am not suggesting that wanting justice is wrong or immoral, but I am saying that when you attach significance to the act, it grows in power and whatever the justice occurs will not be enough to satisfy us. Ironically, if something like that happens, you can try your best to move on and forgive but it is extremely difficult to forget.
When I think of term judgment, I imagine a hamster running in a wheel and even though he keeps running, he never can escape the wheel. The only way to stop the wheel from turning, is for him to stop running and jump off. To put it more plainly, the only way to escape from the pain of judgment is to observe the action and merely let the judgment pass. The Bible speaks of the effects of judging so much so that this concept is seated in our hearts from an early age. Consequently, it is easy to believe that judgments do not matter because I don’t judge anyone. But reality in your subconscious will argue against that opinion. Wouldn’t it be nice if every human being lived by the oath of not judging others. Not judging others would result in a utopia like state of mind that would benefit everyone in all circumstances. Too often, when we place judgment on something or someone we will pre-determine our decision before encountering the person or the event, much like I did at Kroger. We will immediately raise our “shield” when going into an unknown encounter in an attempt to protect ourselves. I am not even hinting that you walk around like a mobile dart board taking hits from everyone, then forgiving them. What I do suggest is for you not attach a why belief to your heart because that judgment end up will hurting you in the end.
Lastly, I hate to inform you, but you do not know the why of another person. You only know your thoughts and how you react to them. You emotions can result in positively or negatively reactions and these reactions will set in motion events that you may not be able to control. My encouragement for us today is to be mindful when you begin to judge others because when we judge others the hamster wheel starts to turn and before we know it, we can’t stop it. Starting today, don’t even get on the hamster wheel of judgment and see how much you enjoy the view.