How to be a good judge

A Christian Science perspective: Judging and being judged honestly.

If we are put in a position of judging or evaluating others’ performances, what should be our criteria for rendering a just evaluation? Is there a universal standard that may be applied to all individuals in any circumstance? In international competition, for example, how can one lift one’s thoughts above national pride and political and ideological boundaries?

A study of the Bible shows us how. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, for instance, we find this counsel: “Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,...lovely,... of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (4:8).

To the degree that one puts this advice into practice he will find his integrity protected. He will be better equipped to honestly evaluate his own attitudes and the performances of others. He will have awakened to the understanding that in order to judge anyone accurately and meaningfully, he must do so impartially, without being influenced by prejudice, hearsay, or past records. Not that this means he will not see what is humanly wrong, but he will have recognized the necessity of proceeding in his evaluation from a clear understanding of Truth.

In Christian Science one learns that it is normal to be unprejudiced. God, infinite, divine Principle, Truth, and Love, is the sole creative power, and man and woman, made in His unchanging likeness, manifests only the divine qualities. When we understand this fact, we see that man is naturally principled, honest, upright, truthful, and loving, and can never be less than perfect.

If we are truly expressing our spiritual identity, we can never do anything dishonest, unprincipled, or immoral. And if we actively recognize and affirm the actual incorruptible, divine selfhood of all individuals everywhere, we will also be protected from apparent injustices committed by others. We can expect to judge and be judged honestly, according to our individual ability and accomplishment, not stereotyped or typecast. We need not become a scapegoat for another’s wrongs or become caught up in political maneuvering, bribery, favoritism, or the limiting personal interests and other corruptive influences that may seem to prevail.

As we express integrity, uprightness, and genuine unselfed love toward others, we receive divine support in whatever we are doing. Whether one is a parent, child, teacher, pupil, employer, employee, judge, competitor, spectator, or performer, each is divinely blessed to the degree that each bears witness to man’s true nature and spiritual being. We not only judge fairly, but we are judged fairly.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, set great store by honesty. She writes: “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 453). And she also says, “Truth is not contaminated by error” (Science and Health, p. 304). God gives each of us the strength and courage needed to act according to our highest convictions and to stand for what we honestly feel is right, no matter what the circumstances.

Wherever Christ Jesus went he had the understanding and courage to judge honestly. He always upheld what was good and true, always relied on God’s power. He was not concerned with personal acclaim, power, or prestige. He craved no material reward or recognition but lived to bring to light the true relationship of God and man. Governed by divine Principle, nourished and sustained by Truth and Love, he was able to heal those who needed healing.

Like the great Way-shower we, too, can bear witness to the healing impartiality and divine justice of Christ, Truth, in our own experience, right now.

Reprinted from the Feb. 26, 1976, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

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