Excerpted from The Quest
What you see with your eyes shut is what counts.
A Sioux medicine man
"Bob is acting hatefully. I certainly don't approve of what he's doing, but in wanting him out of my life, am I being judgmental or am I using good judgment?"
Judgment or judgmental? For someone on a spiritual path, that is the question. How do we know if or when we are putting ourselves above someone whose actions we find repulsive and obnoxious or downright immoral? After all, we are not perfect, so how can we judge another? Being clear on the difference between the two will help.
No one on a spiritual quest wants to be judgmental of another human being. It presumes a moral high ground that is dangerous territory for a spiritual seeker. So here's a good way to know the difference between being judgmental and using your good judgment: Being judgmental is stopping your assessment of people at the appearance level, the superficial level of how they look or act, without going past that to the level of their indwelling Christ. You are using good judgment if you can see past people's actions-no matter how repellent you feel they are—to the light of the Christ within them. After doing that, you can make a decision about their actions. Of course, your judgment may lead to your putting those people out of your life until they change their actions, but as long as you do so and still recognize their indwelling divinity, it's okay.
The important difference between being judgmental and using your judgment is seeing past the appearances to the Christ within. It's the difference between judgmentally thinking another person is inferior and simply judging a person's actions as being inappropriate for you to be around.