Social media is a fascinating thing, you know. It brings out strange demons in us all. One of these is the demon of Judgement. When we’re on Facebook, Twitter and the likes, we all become judges.
We all know what is wrong with everyone in the world. We know the sins of every politician, we know what every celebrity did to ruin their marriage, we know what is wrong with fat people, skinny people, gay people, straight people, old people, young people, black people, white people.
We know how condemnable Christians are and how mistaken Muslims must be. We know these things and state them as facts without pausing to question ourselves for even one moment.
Social Media turns us all into self-righteous know-it-alls, who pronounce judgment on the lives, deeds and choices of every single person but ourselves.
But seriously, who do we think we are and what do we think we know?
We think we know what that minister should have said. We think we know who that celebrity should have married. We think we know how that pastor should have prayed.
We think we know these people whose lives we pass judgement on, and whose walls we write on, but let’s take a pause for the cause of rational thinking. What exactly do we know?
These people we are judging are human beings. People. Like you. People with a story, like you. People with a past, a background, and a set of distinctive circumstances that make them unique.
When faced with choices, their decisions are influenced by all the different circumstances that make them unique. Which means the choices they make will not necessarily be the same as yours.
But here’s the most important thing we don’t realise about judging: I’ll illustrate with a quick story.
There is a world-famous musician whose employees thought for many years that he was pompous and stuck up, because he never gave public speeches, avoided responding to fan mail and hardly ever signed autographs.
In 2009, he finally came out and admitted that he was illiterate.
He couldn’t read or write, and wouldn’t even have graduated from elementary school if he hadn’t been a decent basketball player. That musician’s name is Robert Kelly.
In spite of being unable to read, R. Kelly became the biggest R&B singer and songwriter in the world.
So ask yourself: could you have achieved even a tenth of what he did, if you were illiterate? I mean you’re literate now, so really, you ought to have achieved much more than he has in life, oughtn’t you?
The point here is that before you judge another person, please consider the possibility that if you were in their shoes, you might have done a great deal worse than they did.
So the next time you read about some politician or some singer or some pastor who has done or said something which makes no sense to you, before you update your status with some self-righteous condemnation, pause for a moment and ask yourself: would I have done better?
In fact, if you have never been faced with the same circumstances and done better, then you have not earned the right to judge.
So step away from your keypad and do a quick sign of the cross, before the demon of Judgement possesses you.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and I don’t know what you know, and I haven’t learned what you’ve learned. So when life tests you, how can I mark your script?
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