The following isn’t a question about the sort of judges who wear robes and make legal decisions. That’s something else entirely. Just to keep things in context, I don’t like it when people judge me either.
At this MB and elsewhere, I’ve seen the accusation of “judgementalism” thrown this way and that, as if the mere charge was sufficient to invalidate anything the accused person had said. Just what is judgement that people don’t like it (when used against themselves, anyway)? Is there an alternative for people who like to have an opinion without suffering the disapprobation of others? Regarding the first question, I believe the part that bugs most people about judgemental behavior is the smug assumption, on the part of the person who judges, that they have a right to exercise some sort of real or imagined authority over those whom they judge. This extends to the extent that they act as though they are empowered to demand behavioral changes in the judged person, as well as dictating the behavior of others towards that person.
It’s human nature to dislike a dissenting opinion. It’s especially irksome when someone you don’t know decides upon too little evidence that you are doing something they don’t like, adding insult to injury by invoking G-d, the environment, or some other authority which they seem to have appointed themselves the representative of. In my opinion, I believe I have the right to decide for myself if some behavior is wrong, but that my right to demand certain types of behavior from others is limited. F’rinstance, I expect (and demand) courteous behavior from others, and attempt to show the same for them. Practically, I am limited in the extent of my authority to make such demands. After all, if I’m getting a speeding ticket, it’s unwise for me to insist that the policeman remember to say “please” and “thank you”.
Likewise, should I decide that homosexual behavior is wrong or sinful, my authority to act on this belief extends only to sharing that opinion and living up to it to the best of my ability. It does not therefore authorize me to hunt down people who practice that behavior and harrass them in the hope it will change their minds or stop them from engaging in that behavior. Except by the most dishonest sort of logic I can’t prove that any such behavior is likely to cause harm to myself or someone for whom I am responsible.
So… When (if ever) is it right to judge? How?