Whether you want to approach it from a spiritual or psychological angle, condemnation is one of the fastest ways of getting people to cling to whatever behavior is being condemned. We have learned to condemn things that don’t fit into our views or insult our senses, but the effects are damaging to ourselves, to others, and the causes we care about.
It’s no surprise society has a big problem with condemning – it’s a byproduct of living in a dual world, where we use labels of “right wrong, good or bad” to make sense of life around us. People habitually shame, disapprove, and judge others for any flaw that happens to make it through our carefully curated social media facades. The internet and the ability to express opinions and join together have resulted in large groups condemning each other, spiraling into unproductivity and bigger divides.
Choosing Not to Condemn is not ignoring things that are Wrong
I am not suggesting this means going through life without discernment, or not acknowledging things that are wrong. But being able to see that a person is wrong, and not condemn them is a quality of the Buddha. It is Christ consciousness. It may sound unrealistic, but we need to be reminded of the highest ideal.
And for clarification, I am not talking about true abominations against humanity when condemning is more justifiable. This is about the growing trend of ostracism and unnecessarily vilifying people. It is misguided to think that mob mentality, and playing both the jury and the judge are okay as long as it is used only towards problematic people. Because who decides who is problematic? How many times have the “good guys” become drunk with power and then their ideas on what is “good” also become skewed, imbalanced, and destructive?
Open discourse and impartial reasoning create an environment that is most conducive to positive growth and shifting of mindsets. This neutralizes defensiveness and makes people more receptive to new ideas or ways of being. Otherwise, all you’ll see are desperate attempts of self-justification.
The Harm of Condemning
Condemnation is a destructive force because the energy it puts out intensifies exactly whatever is being condemned. This is especially damaging to decent people who have committed a wrong deed. In this plane of duality, people have a light side and a dark side that grows depending on what is focused on. Condemning focuses on the negative, therefore strengthening it and provoking even worse qualities in a person.
Condemning others creates a false sense of superiority and leaves behind compassion and understanding. It closes the heart center, lowers your vibration, and magnetizes judgment from other people towards yourself.
Think of the vegetarian or vegan who chooses to condemn others for eating meat or animal products. Do judgment and disapproval make other people change their diet? No, if anything it has created more resistance and resentment. Encouragement, understanding, and positive influence always reap better results if the goal is to evoke change.
Silently condemning is no better
We are not so subtle in our behavior that others don’t pick up on judgment and disapproval. And even if our behavior revealed nothing, there is no barrier against the energy of thoughts. When thoughts of condemnation arise they must be swiftly extinguished by thoughts of understanding, acceptance, and love. Unspoken judgment has the same energetic effect on you and those around you.
Overcoming The Urge to Condemn
As Jesus famously said to the men wanting to stone the adulteress, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
And that’s basically what it comes down to. Who is without any fault? Who has never acted with poor judgment? Who is without their own unique brand of ignorance?
And anyway, Karmic laws reward everyone what they deserve, if not in this life then in future lives. That’s enough reason to feel compassion for people who have made wrong decisions or lost in ignorance.