Monday, February 16, 2009

Judge Not . . .

. . . Before you judge yourself.

There seems to be this pesky sentiment floating around that it is wrong to judge. People seem to vaguely remember the words of Christ and then interpret them to mean that we are not to judge at all. Christ didn't charge us to never judge. He asked us to judge only after we have held ourselves in judgment. On many occasions, Christ judged rightly and with confidence and if we consider Christ a worthy example, we'd do well to follow.

Now, you can go on just about anybody's blog and read about the woman who gave birth to octuplets even though she already has 6 children. No matter what anyone says, we are right to judge this situation. But before we do we must sit down and look at ourselves. We've all done things in our lives trying to heal ourselves. These things were not always healthy. Most of us, though, are mentally okay enough to say to ourselves, "That was not healthy and I shouldn't do it again." Many of us have the discipline and the agency to follow through with that promise.

But not all of us do. I call into question Ms. Suleman's mental health and after viewing an interview she did, I'm almost completely sure she is not well. As such, I am not judging Ms. Suleman as harshly. Who I do want held accountable is the doctor who implanted those embryos. That is who I am holding in judgment today. There is simply no ethical reason for this doctor to have done what he/she did. Now there are eight brand new innocent children in the world who have no guarantee of clothes, health care, food, shelter. And most importantly, no guarantee of love and attention. Because no matter how great a person is, how devoted . . . I know what the hell it takes for the hubby and I to give undivided love and attention to two children. There is no way in HELL she can do it by herself for 14. Sorry, won't happen. Oh, and grandma's love or some other family member's love is not an on-par replacement for mama's love. It's only after having my first son and seeing just what it takes to raise children that I fully appreciated and admired single mothers (or married single mothers for that matter--you know, where the dad isn't worth the paper the marriage license is printed on).

The ball was seriously dropped and judgment is being rightfully passed. I wouldn't worry too much about the judgment other humans are passing out though. In comparison to the bigger judgment, well, you really ought to think before you act. Like I said, I'm treading lightly because there might be mental illness going on here but there is a whole lot of wicked enabling going on too--from family, supposed friends and the health care community. And last I heard, artificial insemination, prenatal care, c-sections, neonatal intensive care--all that cost lots and lots of money. Where did it come from? I mean, I'm good at making a dollar out of 15 cents, but if this chick didn't have help from somewhere, she's a frugal guru or has some seriously serious side-hustle.

The other big story floating around is Rhianna and Chris Brown. On that, I reserve judgment because those are grown folks. I don't know the whole story and (I really don't think I want to know the story--keep your business to yourselves folks!!). I hope Rhianna has enough sense, strength and support to leave an abusive relationship if that's what it is. I hope if Chris Brown has abuse issues, he has enough sense, strength and support to get real help (not free passes to keep on being abusive). You see? That right there is a type of judgment although admittedly quite mild.

It is not wrong to judge. In fact it is necessary. We have all been endowed with physical and spiritual senses. We should all be able to think critically. A failure to judge could lead to death, quite literally. As human beings, we judge. We are supposed to. There's nothing wrong with that. But we must judge ourselves first and most harshly so that the judgment we mete out to others is just. I think when folks say, "Don't judge" it's not only disingenuous, it's impossible.

We should also know (and it shouldn't bother us too much) that just as we judge others, they are judging us. But then again, you can only be judged if you let yourself be judged, if somewhere in there, there's a little doubt about your decision. That's why when anyone comes out to do an interview to "clear their name", the get the side-mouth, squinty eye from me. (Perhaps you heard of "stripper pole mom". I wasn't too mad at homegirl until she did her "clear my name" video.)

The truth speaks. Loudly. Of course, we should know try to know the whole story before we judge too completely and too harshly. We should try to understand where people are coming from and where they are. We can accept differences without automatically thinking different = bad or immoral. Our judgment should, first and foremost, be tempered with love.

I lovingly enjoin Ms. Suleman to be quiet, take down that website, handle your business like you say you will. It will take complete focus and singleness of mind to raise those children to be productive parts of society. To give them the love and attention they need and deserve. If you could do this successfully, there would be no need to defend yourself. Because actions still do speak louder than words.

After all, when Christ was judged, he uttered not a word. He was the truth.

"Judge Not" by the Wailing Wailers

Photo Credit: "Gavel" by kromatic on Flickr


Anonymous said...

Yes! I totally agree with you. Judgement is not always a bad thing and the ability to make sound judgements can make the difference between life and death in some cases.

St Theresa lent me her halo said...

I have a real problem with the condemnation this woman is receiving. I agree that judgment is not inherently bad, but to condemn her? It's elitist and unnecessary. I don't think it's inherently unhealthy for her to continue to have children. If, as a society, we think she needs help, we should provide it, not sit around saying she needs help. *That* is my problem with this situation. People aren't looking at how we can make this easier on her, people are simply saying, "She's got mental issues. She's poor. She's single." Basically, it becomes an argument against women and poor women, in particular.

And, yes, she had money. Definitely. Which is why the condemnation is even more suspect. She's been caring for herself and the other kids for this long, with enough to keep impregnating herself. I understand having an issue with her entitlement, but to throw it off as mental instability? She's been diagnosed with the same issues plaguing most American women. So many of Americans are walking around hopped up on anti-depressants, but this has become something to rally for, not against. Except in this case.

The inconsistencies in thought and lack of compassion are my concern. If she made an unhealthy decision (and I don't think she did), it is symptomatic of our entire culture's disease. Eight new babies or not. And, I honestly think people are using her children as an excuse to come down on her.

The element of societal control here is disturbing to me. And, I disagree with it.

Chi-Chi, The Original Wombman said...

Excellent points Theresa.

I don't know her personal life that's for sure. All I know is what it takes to take care of my two with my husband. Multiply that by 7? To me, it would take supernatural strength and fortitude? Maybe she's got it and I'm hoping she can show the world she does. A failure to do so would be unfair to the kids.

I think most folks are saying that if she does fail in this herculean task, the society has to pick up her slack. And most bristle at that idea. I personally feel that taking care of children is a far better way to spend tax dollars than war. But at the same time, I do think it's reckless to bring 8 children into the world in one shot. I actually don't think I would have really batted an eye had she had 14 pregnancies. Maybe a twin here or there.

Excellent article that kind of agrees with you:

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