Don’t Judge Me, Please Love Me

[ 5 ] April 6, AD 2014 |

You hear a lot of things when you walk down a hallway filled with 200 teenage girls. Some hilarious, some tragic, some ridiculous, and some beautiful. At the all-girls high school where I work, though, there is one phrase that I have heard almost every day. It’s an opening line that frustrated me to no end: Don’t judge me.

Oh dear Lord, seriously? Don’t judge me? It’s like saying, Yes, I’m about to tell you this thing about myself, but you are forbidden to say anything bad about it. So just listen, then shut up. A similar sentiment to “you only live once,” it seemed like an excuse people used to do whatever they felt like doing, then to free themselves from culpability.

For months, I found myself biting my tongue each time I heard those words. I felt angry, and I wanted to just grab the person’s shoulders and tell them that there is objective truth! There is moral right and wrong and we have to judge whether we are doing it or not! If we all went around doing whatever we wanted and nobody judged those actions as good or bad, the world would dissolve into chaos. And so, I sat on my little patch of moral high ground and, despite their request, judged.

It wasn’t until I thought about what people were actually saying that I started to change my mind about things. When we ask someone not to judge us, it’s always the opening line to a revelation about ourselves. Don’t judge me, but I love this song. Don’t judge me, but I at a whole bag of potato chips last night. Don’t judge me, I just didn’t want to get out of sweatpants all day. When we say don’t judge me, we are really saying Please, love me. Love me in spite of my faults and imperfections. Love me even though I have some weird quirks, do silly things, and make mistakes. Love me in spite of what I’m about to tell you.

The request isn’t an attempt to avoid moral culpability, it’s a cry for love.

Of course, judgement is still important. There is moral right and wrong, and we have to discern if our actions are working towards the good of others. However, we must never let moral judgement morph into a judgement of the value of a person. That is each of our great fear: that we will be judged and found to be unlovable.

This is one reason why Pope Francis is such a great gift to the church. He is a man whom we have seen teach the truth of our faith with a focus on love and compassion. Recently, we have seen his example of where love and judgement meet in the sacrament of confession. It is there that we have judged ourselves, by the law of God, to have fallen short. It is there that we acknowledge our sinfulness, and ask for forgiveness. It is there that the Lord meets that judgement and returns it with unconditional love. It is there that we never have to ask not be judged, because he is Love.

During this season of Lent, we can each take some time to meet Jesus in the sacrament of confession, where we can be truly loved and not judged.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Life, Relationships

About the Author ()

Lauren Meyers is a 27 year old wife and a mother. She experienced the love of the Lord on a high school retreat, picked up a Bible and the Liturgy of the Hours, and hasn't turned back since. Holding a BA in Classics and Religious Studies and an MA in Education, she currently teaches Theology and Latin at an all-girls high school in northern New Jersey.
  • RaymondNicholas

    Judgment is a good and necessary thing; without it, there would be no law and order, and standards of behavior in society. Judgment requires an informed conscious in order for it to be properly understood and applied.
    Being nice is not a condition or outcome of the judgment. Judgment is based upon determining the absolute truth in a given set of thoughts, words, and deeds. If absolute truth is not the goal, then judgment is meaningless, forgiveness is meaningless, the love “rendered” is superficial.
    Technically speaking, Confession is a judgment: you judge yourself of sin. The priest, acting in the footsteps of Christ, forgives. If you give a false confession, there is a lack of self-judgment on your part and there is no forgiveness. You have to go again.
    When a parent instructs their young child, young adult, or adult in their family, the parent is not suddenly bereft of knowledge, sight, and mind. If the parent sees their child in grave sin and takes them to task for it, hopefully in a gentle way, they are making a judgment regarding their eternal souls. “Do not jeopardize it, because you are my child and I want to see you end up in the right place!”
    Is that being judgmental in a bad way, because the parent is deemed “not nice” by the child?

  • NDaniels

    If you are aware that someone has developed a disordered inclination of any nature that could lead them to sin, and you do not desire that they overcome their disordered inclination,

  • Lauren Meyers

    Surely judgement is necessary, but I think correction can come across to so many as a judgement of the person, not their action. This is why the world has become addicted to relativism. Telling someone that their action is wrong has become equivalent to telling them that they are bad. To correct someone or teach someone about why their actions are judged by Jesus and the Church to be wrong is important, and saves souls. However, love for the person always needs to be communicated in that discussion. This is what St. John Bosco wrote to the Salesians that it isn’t enough that we love, but that people KNOW they are loved. We have to make judgements and corrections, but the people we are teaching have to know that we do so out of love, and not out of pride or selfishness.

  • bill b

    We have a lot of phrases and ideas in modern Catholic-speak that also incline the young away from fear of God which scripture says… is the beginning of wisdom. Both John Paul II in “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” and Benedict in an address opined that we could not be certain that Judas was in hell. Both Augustine and Chrysostom said he was in hell because they knew that Christ not a Church document made it crystal clear in His words about Judas…all dark as night. But the modern teen who hears their parent say that John Paul said Judas might be in heaven ( which is the implication of both Popes along with Karl Rahner and Von Balthasar)….how does such a teen develop fear of the Lord if even Judas can’t seem to manage to get into hell. If absolutely no one is there, it makes hell not theoretic but imaginary. Drug cartel gangs are murdering each other in the thousands in Mexico but no one in the Church will even utter that some or all are most likely in hell even though Trent forbids us of being definite about anyone outside of Revelation which scripture is on Judas.
    If cartel members who behead each other with chain saws can’t even “likely” get in hell, how is a teenager having sex going to get in hell? Or a teenager getting drunk? Or a teen boy starting a street fight? We need a new voice from Rome that inspires fear of the Lord but that voice is not even born yet probably.
    Here’s the New Testament Christ in Luke 13:24…on Heaven…” for many will try to enter but will fail.”
    And yet did Rahner and Von Balthasar simply contradict that in saying that God’s willing that all men be saved ( Aquinas called it God’s antecedent willing) might come true. Aquinas was wiser and noted that “God’s antecedent will does not always take place”. Judas, and arguably Jezebel and Herod in Acts 12 are three of those moments…the latter two because God not only brought about their deaths but had wildlife eat both corpses. That is why I have hope for Ananias and Sapphira from Acts 5 whom God killed but had the couple decently buried.

  • http://catholiccravings.com/ Laura McAlister

    Wonderful article, Lauren! You are right about these young women – and about all of us. I particularly loved how you linked it to Confession, where our self-judgment is met by the mercy of God. He is good! :D