Why are we so quick to judge? How do we know what others are living through unless we have a relationship with them or have factual information.
So often we judge by the cover of the book and not the content. In reality, people pick up a book first by its cover. If the cover doesn’t appeal to them they may never pick up the book to read it. First appearances are important in our society as we are judged by what we see on the outside. Going for a job interview is a daunting task where first impressions count. We put emphasis on outward beauty, especially in the acting or music world. An artist who is visually appealing on the outside will get more breaks than others.
Justin Bieber- An Example
Recently we have watched celebrities caught in the clutches of the media as they expose their behavior on every media outlet…electronic, paper or social media. Unbecoming photos of celebrities are plastered in front covers of trash newspapers in the grocery stores. One can’t help by see them. This makes me sad as the business of selling news is more important than the lives of individuals who have feelings. Sarcastic comics and ads can be seen all over. Sounds like fun, but to whom?
Television talk shows reveal all kinds of information on famous people. An example is Justin Bieber. Although I’m not a fan of his music, I feel for him as he is dragged through the media storm. Is he the only one to blame for his behavior now that he is considered an adult at 18. Addiction counsellors will tell you that your parenting days are over when a child becomes an adult. Parents no longer are responsible for their adult children`s behavior.
Research on the Teenage Brain
Brain research reveals that the teenage brain is not fully developed until early twenties. This article states that addictions start in the teenage years. So the impulsive behaviors of teenagers result from a physiological and emotional development of the brain. A quote from a Harvard blog states:
Recent research has shown that human brain circuitry is not mature until the early 20s (some would add, “if ever”). Among the last connections to be fully established are the links between the prefrontal cortex, seat of judgment and problem-solving, and the emotional centers in the limbic system, especially the amygdale. These links are critical for emotional learning and high-level self-regulation. (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog-extra/the-adolscent-brain-beyond-raging-hormones)
Is a 19-year-old too young to be able to make good choices for physiological reasons alone? Add alcohol and drugs and you have undesirable actions. The flow of constant money is a big factor as well as close associations with peers. There are all kinds of reasons why Justin Bieber’s behaviors right now are deplorable and will certainly hinder his career if he doesn’t change. In my opinion, he needs some kind of an intervention as he is so young . He will need support as well. That`s where the parents come in: more support and less codependency.
Reasons We Judge
This brings me to the point of my topic about judging. Why do we judge so quickly? One reason is that we lack factual information. We jump to conclusions about someone, especially celebrities since their lives are so public. We have a distorted view all based on media since we don`t know them personally. I fell into this trap with a young female pop singer. I judged her based on one questionable video interview. A lesson learned I admit.
Another reason we may judge so quickly is that we have not walked in another person`s life journey. As the saying goes, “Don`t criticize until you`ve walked a mile in their shoes”. I`m not convinced that you have to walk in the same experiences in order to be supportive. We can have a loving attitude towards others who are struggling and speak words of encouragement. When making judgments about public figures, we can keep quiet and pray until our heart is right. People get so worked up about what they hear in the media that it affects their own heart attitude. The scriptures talk about judging, and there is constructive criticism that has its place, but negative uninformed judgments have no place coming out of our mouths.
Our own insecurities can cause us to blame others. We think we know better or that we are better at handling situations. Laying the blame solely on parents of troubled teenagers is not always right. We don’t know what they are going through.
Luke 6:37 NIV Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
John 7:24 NIV Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.
What do you think? How have you reacted to recent media reports about celebrities? How can you support someone who has a loved one who is struggling with addictions?