Withholding Judgment

By Anonymous, age 14


It's so hard not to judge others based on appearances. How can we stop it?


Judging people by outward appearances is not the way the world should run. But lots of people stereotype others. In school, I find myself looking at others' bad outfits, but I never look at myself and see how I could be better. It's hard not to think about someone's clothes, but if we stop thinking about them, I think we'll eventually be much better people. When we think about the small, little things that are wrong with people, we forget about all of the good things they do, leaving them behind in the dust.

It can be the most difficult thing to do, but if you love someone -- not kissy, smoochy love, but brotherly love -- for who he or she really is, not for how he or she dresses or speaks, it makes a difference, not just in the other person's life, but also in your own life. It makes you feel really good for not letting anything stand in your way of loving that individual. And that person feels loved. If people have been pelted with hatred their whole life, then it's a refreshing break for them to have love being poured upon them.

And even if you love someone just so that you will feel good yourself, it's worth it because that person will feel good, too. It's not like someone will pop up out of the ground and get really mad at you for loving someone for your own gain. At least you love others.

There's a story in the Bible about a father (Noah) who was drunk and naked in his tent. His youngest son went into the tent and saw his father naked. But the two older sons covered up their father without looking on his nakedness (Gen 9:20-27). Now you might think that this story is really random and pointless, but surprisingly it isn't. RESPECT is a key element in this story. If the elder sons hadn't respected their father's dignity, then they would have been scolded (and cursed) like their younger brother was.

So if we want to make fun of someone else, we should find something that is good about a person and tell them about it. I know it's hard. When I spot someone who has had a bad hair day, I think, "Ha! That sucks for her/him." I'm not too proud of that. Who would be? What I really should be thinking is, "Wow, man, I should probably keep my mouth shut and not go blabbing on about how bad her hair is!" I know, it's rather plastic and unimaginative, but it gets the point across. We have to be careful about what we're thinking -- if it's good or bad, helpful or harmful.

When it comes to criticizing someone else, I hope that we all feel a sense of guilt for even thinking that someone doesn't look good. It doesn't matter!!! Feeling guilty, we realize what we did and can correct it. Refusing to judge people on appearances is one of the hardest things to do, and we may struggle with it throughout our lives if we don't handle it now.

Stereotypes are running the world, and it's time for US to stop them now. We can do that by correcting our thinking, making sure our thoughts are clean and clear. We can see what's good about a person, even if he or she does something mean. So let's be the best we can be and refuse to let stereotypes and outward appearances fool us into thinking that others are not good people. Instead, let's see other's inner selves and their true beauty.