Do not judge lest you be judged.
For in the way you judge, you will be judged;
and by your standard of measure,
it shall be measured to you.
The Book of Matthew 7:1-2 (see 3-5)
The word for “judge” in this command is the imperative form of the Greek word, κρινω. That word means to “separate, distinguish, select, prefer, consider, pass judgment on, express opinion about.”
In one sense we humans judge each other all the time. If someone lies to us, we call him or her a liar. If they brag all the time, we consider them braggarts. If someone is always kind even in difficult circumstances, we may even call them a saint. Jesus never said we were not to pay attention to the evidence about themselves people disclose.
He commanded against the favorite pastime of many: judging the human worth of a person, treating them as less than we are.
We have enforced federal and state EEO laws. Those laws pertain to employment or housing. Employment enables one to work and live. Housing enables one to have shelter against the weather. These are basic areas of life in America.
Discrimination in the protected classes is illegal because American history has proven persons with power in employment or housing sometimes judge, because of prejudice. Some do not treat some Americans equally, if the latter are in certain classes they do not like. Americans decided a democracy could not tolerate denying employment or housing, or manipulating either for an adverse impact, and still be democratic.
How EEO laws are enforced in an organization, or even in courts, depends on who is in charge to enforce or give rulings on the alleged discrimination. Just because laws are on the books does not mean the spirit of the laws is strong or effective.
Let’s be frank here. Some people in protected classes are employees needing discipline or termination. Some also know the laws, and cry out, “Discrimination!,” to prevent getting what they really deserve. Some file an EEO charge hoping the company will fear protracted costs, or public exposure in the media, if some enterprising reporter gets the story. Some early file “retaliation” knowing that later adverse actions may be interpreted as discrimination.
So while discrimination is and ought to be illegal, some bad employees manipulate the laws. Such abusers actually reinforce stereotypes, though this is a wrong conclusion embraced by people prone to stereotypes. Lazy or manipulative people are everywhere.
EEO Abusers in Context
EEO abusers actually are no different than other abusers in our workplace. The only thing separating them is they can abuse the law. Let’s look at other abusers.
Some managers are lazy, bad workers. Some spend much of their time in meetings with no real management production outcomes. Some have their positions because of someone they know. Some keep their positions by flattery or political maneuvering. Because they are managers, they are difficult to discipline or terminate. They often have insider information about office intrigues, or illegal practices. Such factors make us steer clear of them.
To target EEO abusers as “uniquely bad” is foolish, given what we put with in management. They often are targets for other pent-up frustrations we have but do not identify.
“Do Not Judge” for Leaders
Jesus issued this command against our common human tendency to be preoccupied with judging others. It is easier to invest more time looking at others’ faults, and less time at our own. Right after giving the command, Jesus used hyperbole. He said judging others was like looking at a speck of dust in another person’s eye, but having a log in our own.
The healthy leader ought to apply this command in management. Here are some clear applications.
- Daily examine your self first in all your work.
- Daily ensure your best in decisions and outputs.
- Daily examine your time management.
- Daily examine the quality of your work.
Self-examination and self-regulation leads to several results as a manager over others.
- Others see your principles at work as a model.
- Others see your model as expected, normative behavior.
- Others see the duty to duplication and advocate for the model.
- Others see your guidance, or discipline, as expected.
Careful, scrupulous self-examination and self-regulation have certain effects on you as manager.
- Your view of others is tempered by your own challenges.
- Your approach to their challenges becomes empathic.
- Your guidance and discipline become focused and relevant.
- Your conscience is clear when discipline is applied.
- Your model for management challenges peers.
“Do Not Judge” as Character-Builder
The command is based in personal responsibility. In family, at work, in community and society, this is a foundation stone for progress.
As leader first take responsibility for yourself. Then when you have put yourself in order, you have a factual case for leading others in what you have mastered. It is tough to take the “log” out of your own thinking and behavior. It is easier to look at others than yourself. You truly deserve your position when you fill the shoes and walk the path you expect from others.
People notice such moral consistency. They respect it. They respond to it. When they are disciplined or terminated, all but the most corrupt are silent and say, “I deserve it.”
Efficiency in production is one of the benchmarks for every organization. Follow Jesus’ command. Make it your own rule. Then watch what happens.
“Do Not Judge” and National Health
If leaders in Washington, our state legislatures, and local communities followed Jesus’ command not to judge, our entire nation would be healthier.
Blaming others drives political gridlock in Washington. There is no doubt we have tons of trouble in our country, plenty wrong. Yet no political party points out its own contributions to the troubles. Both parties have trained voters not to look within first, but to point blame at others.
Why? Political leaders do not want to accept personal responsibility. If they did, they might need to resign. If they did, they might give evidence for voting them out. The Blame Game actually is about keeping power.
Our “politics of division” is a sign of the moral cancer in those using it. Our nation is trained in this moral cancer after decades of the Blame Game. Though blame is moral cancer, blame has become the daily poisoned bread fed to the nation, by political leaders, and to organizations, by cancer-consumed leaders. We are so sick with moral cancer we have developed a taste for it.
Contact Leadership Ethics Today
You have been duly informed by this biblical command. The principle is clear enough. Some readers already knew it, for years. Leadership Ethics Online is here to help you apply it.
You invest dollars and time in marketing, advertising, sales, and efficiency studies, among many line items in your budget. Yet can you fail to invest in a moral issue that is a cancer eating away at your leadership, your team, and your organization? Cut out the cancer and more profitability and organizational health will result.
Take the time to fill out the Contact form, or call us for a free consultation at 502-232-0506. Examine your reservations and, if you believe in God, say a prayer!