Changing Our Judgmental Character

In almost every show or movie there is a character that is completely annoying.

You know exactly who I’m talking about. They’re mean, constantly complaining, gossiping, wimpy, and judgmental. Basically, they’re annoying and you just don’t like them.

I’ve always wondered: if I were a character in a movie, how would I be perceived?

I would like to think that I would find my character nice, helpful and maybe even somewhat humorous.

But those are on my good days. How about my bad days?

If I were to see myself in a movie, as an observer, I might not always like my character. In fact, I might even dislike him.

Think about this, too. When there is a character in a movie that is annoying, judgmental or even wicked … and in time they start to change for the better, what naturally happens to us as the viewer?

We want them to be better.

We begin to like them.

We even start to root for them.

Take Ebenezer Scrooge for instance. A terrible, horrible, judgmental person. He is truly an awful person, and I doubt anyone goes into that story liking him.

But near the end of the story, when he ‘wakes up’ and becomes a better person, you start to like old Scrooge. You just can’t help it.

Personally, I have had many moments in my life that I’m not proud of. And sometimes within hours, or heck, even minutes, I’ll think to myself, “Wow, I would totally hate my character in a movie right now.” Especially when I’m being judgmental.

Because when I become judgmental, I become the character in the movie who I’d like to give a good punch in the head.

So, how does one conquer their temptations to judge others? Well, initially, by keeping them just as temptations. When the thoughts to judge others come into your mind, try your best to get rid of them or simply ignore them. Eventually they will go away, but only if you do not give in to them.

In the end we really need to mind our own business and not set ourselves up as judge, jury and executioner to those around us.

We should also remind ourselves throughout the day that when we are tempted to be judgmental towards another person that there is also a good deal that we do not even know about that person.

When we fall into judging others, it’s very rare that we will ever judge justly. Only God can do that – only God knows the heart. We never will.

Instead, it would be much wiser to try our best to think the best of other people, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and leave all judgment to God.

An interesting thought, too – we have our own faults to contend with! It’s better to look at oneself with a more critical eye, rather than those around us. In fact, unless you’ve tapped into a magic spring of perfection, you can keep fairly busy just correcting your own faults.

As for the faults of others, the best you can do is to be a good example, offer a bit of advice if you are asked and pray for others, versus criticizing and gossiping about them.

By not judging others, you will have more peace in your own soul.

One of the worst faults of human nature is that of condemning others. That is why Jesus taught His doctrine of charity. As we judge others, so will God judge us. If we condemn others, so too we run the risk of being condemned. A true follower of Christ is more ready to think well of others than to think evil.

In your life, try to no longer be the movie character that is judgmental towards others, picking out people’s faults and failings. The movie character that everyone wants to punch.

Instead, be the movie character that recognizes and works to diminish his or hers own faults and failings.

That’s a character you might even like — a lot.

Alan Scott

By

Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog GrowInVirtue.com, and is the author of The Quest for Virtue, both which focus on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him, hands dirty, in his garden. You can find him on Facebook, too.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Thomas

    I believe there’s something amiss in this post. As Catholics, we are supposed to judge a person’s actions but not his or her soul. Judging a person’s actions and correcting them if they are sinful is a spiritual work of mercy. Jesus urges us to judge others’ actions but only after we have thoroughly judged our own selves and put ourselves on the path of holiness. Not judging others because we do not judge our own actions and also because we do not wish to offend another person’s sensibilities only makes sin to fester in a cesspool where no one recognises sin and bothers to correct it.
    Jesus said “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?
    You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:3-5).
    The last sentence nails it. There’s a great book by Edward Sri titled “Who Am I to Judge? Responding to Relativism with Logic and Love” . Also there was a great blogpost just this past week at the National Catholic Register website. Here’s the link
    http://m.ncregister.com/55943/b

MENU