Thou Shalt Not Judge

I grew up in a Catholic family. I went to Catholic Schools. Every Sunday our entire family of six would be marched off to Church, always sitting in the front row on the right hand side of a three pronged lay-out – aka the cross. But the Lord strike down ANYONE who sat in our seats – it happened a few times, but it’s alright, Mum sorted them out quick smart. Our best friends, the Pinis (all 11 of them,) were always seated in the front row opposite, and all the other good Catholic families from our town were firmly ensconced in their respective seats. It was usually a full house and the throng was often entertained by the Edwards’ family brass ensemble – something that got very uncool as the teen years progressed.

I could talk a lot about those Church days (and my mother,) but I will leave it for another day as I would like to talk about one of the Ten Commandments – “Thou Shalt Not Judge.” Obviously I memorised them all, but this was always my favourite. The others just didn’t resonate. For example, coveting the neighbour’s wife and anything else your neighbours had – well you should’ve seen our neighbours, they actually had dirt floors! We certainly weren’t at risk of damnation there. There are no other Gods but me – we didn’t realise there were any other candidates – so all good on that one. Not killing or murdering – cool with that. Honouring thy father and thy mother – can that be an exception please God? Haven’t always been the best on that one…

Anyways, I thought the “thou shalt not judge” rule was a goodie and I have worked pretty hard in my life not to do it. I prefer to try and understand why someone is being a dickhead or a wanker, rather than just accusing them of being a dickhead or a wanker. Most of us have underlying reasons for all of our behaviours after all – good or bad.

I started to realise this rule wasn’t something many people took too seriously early on. It all came crashing down in my world, when, after exiting said Church, the women folk would light up their “Kents” and have a stitch and bitch about other women/people in the Church. I’m sure the only thing that’s changed about that church is there are no longer ashtrays available.

My Dad told me that as a four year old I came up to him and said “Dad, didn’t the priest just say that we shouldn’t say bad things about people?” Why yes he said, to which I responded “Well why is Mum and her friends saying nasty things about…?” whoever it was they were talking about that week.

Apparently that left him a bit stumped, because what exactly could he say to a four year old who has hit the nail on the head BUT he can’t exactly bag his wife?

I’m not a fan of judgement, as anyone who knows me is aware, it just makes me feel really uncomfortable. I really do believe that there is ALWAYS another perspective. But it’s not going away anytime soon, and one of the places where judgement is getting a new lease of life is Facebook and social media generally. Take a look. There is some pretty strong stuff coming through and while communicating a painful moment is fair enough to your “friends,” bagging a complete stranger for their antics makes me squirm.

Thou Shalt Not Judge is the only part of my Catholic education I still hold on to. The rest of it is pretty much out the door.. and I still have no desire to covet thy neighbour’s wife nor their ox, nor their male servant, nor their donkey…!

Yours, without the bollocks

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