Judge Not, Lest Ye Be A Jerk - Mysti Parker -  L.A. Tripp
 
Hmmm...are we a jerk for having an opinion? Or are we a push-over? Let's get Mysti Parker's thoughts on this:

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be a Jerk

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 (Holy Bible, NIV)

There’s a difference between expressing an opinion and being judgmental, hence the Son of God’s advice to Christians. Smart guy, that Jesus.

Opinions are everywhere. From your best friend’s book recommendation: “I loved ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’” to your five-year-old’s dinner-time proclamations: “I hate green beans!”, you can’t avoid opinions, and you shouldn’t, because it’s these expressions of personal preference that help us learn about each other so we can be more discerning about who we connect with and how.

Problems arise when opinions evolve into judgments. Why? Because once an opinion grows from a simple personal preference “I don’t like ___”, to “He/she is bad”, you’re stamping a permanent mark on something that can’t be erased. On Daily OM.com, a February 27, 2008 article entitled ‘Staying Open and Fluid’ states that:

“When we make a judgment…we attempt to have a final say on whether someone or something is inherently good or bad. Judgments close us down instead of opening us up; opinions have a lighter quality and are amenable to change. Once a judgment has been made, there is no more conversation or consideration, whereas opinions invite further debate.”( http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2008/12413.html)

Christians, I’m sorry to say, can be the worst offenders. You only have to turn on the news to see church-goers holding signs with hate-filled messages like “God Hates Gays”, or protests at an American soldier’s funeral, where the signs read “God Hates War”, or a pastor burning the Quran while his followers hold up signs that say “God Hates Islam”. If God hates anything, it’s probably how idiotic we can be.

Judgments come from within our own circles, too. I don’t know of any other profession that garners more judgment than motherhood, and usually from other mothers. If you’re not being judged for breastfeeding in public, you’re being labeled a bad mom for choosing to bottle-feed. Everything you do as a mother is judged in some way. From sleeping arrangements to the choice to stay at home or work, you’ll have some sort of “bad mom” label stuck on you no matter what you do. And that’s sad, because mothering children really does take a village. We should be encouraging each other and supporting one another’s efforts through the challenging years of raising little ones.

If there’s another profession that could rival motherhood for being a judgment magnet, it’s writing. Jack Eason, a writer friend of mine from the UK has been one of many targets of what he calls “Amazon trolls”. (See his blog article here: http://akhen1khan2.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/say-no-to-amazon-trolls.html)

In his case, it appears to be a couple who have nothing better to do than post nasty book reviews. I barely have the time to write a legitimate review, much less a deliberately horrible one. Harsh reviews, in general, can slide into judgmental territory when they go from “I didn’t like ___” to “This author is terrible.” Statements like the latter one don’t give the author anything constructive with which to improve. They only belittle and discourage.

That’s why I urge you to not stop sharing opinions, but to keep a firm grip on your words. If you write a book review, think of the time and effort that author put into his/her work. If you see a mom parenting differently than you do, put yourself in her shoes before you assume she’s a bad mother. If you are a Christian, take another look at Matthew 7:3 and live by example, not by condemnation.

As I get older, I realize how many times I’ve flung judgments around myself. Perhaps idealism fueled by youth blinds us to how hurtful our words can be, and none of us will ever completely stop judging. But, that’s the point Jesus was making in that verse. None of us are perfect, and while you still might make the mistake of judging someone else unfairly, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it and whittle the plank in your eye down to something more manageable.

Like a toothpick.
****
Author Bio:

Mysti Parker is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger’s Tale, was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and is the first in a fantasy romance series. Book Two, Serenya’s Song, was published this April. Mysti reviews speculative fiction for SQ Magazine, and is the proud writer of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award.

Links: 
Email: mystiparker@yahoo.com
Unwritten
Twitter: @MystiParker 
Facebook Page 
Goodreads Page 
A Ranger’s TaleMelange BooksAmazonBarnes and Noble,Smashwords 
Serenya’s SongMelangeBooks, Amazon

As always, if you like what this author has to say in their guest spot, please patronize them by clicking on their book on the sidebar. I make absolutely nothing off your purchase through this site. I'm just glad to have them stop by and hope you get some pleasure from meeting another author.
6/27/2012 14:35:31

Thanks so much for hosting me, L.A.!

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L.A. Tripp
6/27/2012 14:49:25

My pleasure! Don't be a stranger ;)

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6/27/2012 14:58:07

L.A & Mysti ~ Thanks so much for sharing this article. Well done and I agree. So many are far too judgmental of others for no reason. Thanks for sharing and wishing you both much success and prosperity, MG

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6/27/2012 21:43:13

Sad but true, MG. Some folks aren't happy unless they're putting others down. I wonder if it's because they feel bad about themselves. Thanks for commenting!

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6/27/2012 15:08:44

Excellent post Mysti! Great advice.

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6/27/2012 21:43:58

Thanks Bellakentuky!

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TJ Marshall
6/27/2012 15:56:26

Mysti, Great Post. It all boils down to that old cliche, if you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all. It seems that everyone has an opinion of what's right and they have to point out those who are wrong by their standards. Thank you for pointing out how hurtful and counterproductive being judgemental can be. Love the post.

TJ

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6/27/2012 21:46:20

Hey TJ, thanks for commenting! I truly think being tactful comes with age and practice. Though some people never learn that old bit of advice, unfortunately.

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6/27/2012 20:48:06

Good post Mysti! Same goes with all the writing rules. Lots of opinions, but what works for one story may not work for another.

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6/27/2012 21:48:56

Hey Rachelle, that's so true, isn't it? I think it's best to learn all the "rules", practice like crazy, and learn how to break them :) Thanks so much for commenting!

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judy
6/27/2012 21:56:49

wonderful, Mysti, and insightful. I've been stung many times - no doubt have stung others - and stingers aren't easily retracted.

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6/27/2012 22:09:41

Absolutely, Judy. I've been on both sides too, and though I am tempted to hang my head in shame, the only thing I can do is learn from it and do better next time.

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Von
6/27/2012 21:57:40

Really wonderful post--well-written, honest, funny, all the things I've come to expect from you. I think that it's especially sad to see judgements flung around on the internet;it's a lifeline to so many. I think some folks feel as though they can express whatever thoughts they want (including character-bashing) because they can't actually see the person, things I don't believe they'd say in person. The pain they inflict is very real. Thanks for starting this conversation.

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6/27/2012 22:15:51

Thanks so much for commenting, Von. The internet is a wonderful resource, yet it's so easy to fling out words and not be accountable for them online. We forget that there are real people on the other side of the screen who are cut to the bone by words we write in anger, malice, or thoughtlessness.

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6/27/2012 23:36:09

Unless, of course, it is a positive judgement... then by all means! LOL J/K Great post, Mysti! :-)

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6/28/2012 08:31:33

Oh yeah, most definitely!! Bring on the positive :) Thanks for commenting, Cassie!

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6/28/2012 00:38:51

Good advice to remember, Mysti.
Negativity begets negativity.

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6/28/2012 08:32:13

Just like yawning begets yawning. :) Thanks for commenting J M!

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6/28/2012 01:33:41

When I was young I knew everything and I was always right. Now I just have opinions

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6/28/2012 08:33:28

I figure when I'm a really old lady, I'll cycle back into not giving a crap and saying the first thing that comes to mind. Until then, I'll only voice tactful opinions ;) Thanks so much for commenting, Jenny!

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6/28/2012 02:42:56

I can only echo the opinions of the others here Mysti - an insightful article. Thank you for the mention by the way. :)

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6/28/2012 08:34:34

You're welcome, Jack! If anyone is undeserving of the crap you've put up with, it's you. Keep fighting!

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6/28/2012 03:33:53

Wonderful post - I think you nailed so many things on here, Mysti!!!

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6/28/2012 08:35:52

Thanks Amy!!

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6/28/2012 12:03:10

Excellent post! I've seen quite a bit of this type of behavior, and I really don't get it. Being fueled by hate doesn't sound like fun. I'd much rather be fueled by kittens and chocolate!

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7/3/2012 16:48:54

Yes, kittens and chocolate all the way!! Leave your judgmental attitude at the door and bring me kittens and chocolate!!

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L.A. Tripp
6/30/2012 18:48:19

Did someone mention chocolate? (LIndsey!) lol. Chocolate is like the ultimate cure-all isn't it?

Thank you Mysti for the visit! It was a pleasure hosting you. And, thanks to each and every one of you for commenting on her great article! And, feel free to continue spreading Mysti's words around on this blog ;)

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7/3/2012 16:49:40

It was a pleasure, L A! Hope we can do it again! ~Mysti

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