We’ve heard this adage so often we ignore the deeper meaning. Within are two gems for our hectic, modern lives. The first concerns the sense on which we most rely. What we see is what we get only in text editors and many times not even then.
Our eyes are a gift. We find our way with our eyes. With a little light, they can take us a long way. But too easily are our eyes tricked. And that is the first reason why we should not judge what we see with haste. Even with 20/20 vision, we will miss some context in every situation. Our lives are not the sharp contrast of black and white.
The second reason fits well with that last sentiment. You may be familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment. The last axis of comparison concerns Judging versus Perceiving. When we judge, and we all judge, we lose sight of the rest of the world and all its possibilities. Judgment closes off the potential for new information. Much like when a judge bangs down his gavel, the case is closed.
Christ also admonished us against judgmental thinking. Our minds must be open to have faith. When they close what remains is mere dogma.
When we choose to perceive, we instead accept a situation for what it is. We also accept our own fallibility in understanding. We stand open to receive new data. That data may help us make more sense of what we have perceived.
When we seek truth, we must withhold our judgment. Winston Churchill warned that “truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Those bodyguards are cover that belies the nature of the book within.