To judge, condemn, discern, evaluate, and have an opinion: what’s the difference? And what is “allowed” anyway, in spiritual circles?

Sometimes it seems like you can’t say anything anymore. When I give my opinion, I get “you shouldn’t judge!” and a punitive (judgmental) finger is raised.


Some time ago I made a chart on the whiteboard during a class. In the left column, I wrote the characteristics of the new age movement and above the right column I wrote spirituality. The students were already somewhat surprised that I did not consider new age the same as spirituality. As the list progressed, someone hesitantly asked, “Aren’t you judging the new age movement now?”

That was of course a nice opening.


Let me explain something linguistically first. We often use the verb judge in a negative way, as in condemning. There is also such a thing as discernment. Is there something wrong with having discernment and evaluating a situation or person? Wouldn’t we be better off not doing that? I can strongly advise against it. If you no longer discern or assess a person or situation, you no longer neutrally estimate what is happening or what kind of person you’re dealing with.

Please don’t consider leaving your discernment at home when you get in the car. Or want to invest money. Or if you’re going to choose who brings you home in the middle of the night. Do you understand what I mean?

If you don’t evaluate, if you don’t estimate and if you don’t look at the facts, you risk being naive and that can even become dangerous. Imagine that you have a bit of a bad feeling about someone. He’s acting strange. But, a little voice tells you: “You shouldn’t judge” so you decide to trust him. You go against your feelings. Your intuition tried to warn you but alas, you decided to listen to this little mental voice. Now you have to deal with the consequences.

Not smart. Just my opinion.


What then is condemnation? That has to do with moral disapproval. It shouldn’t be, in your view.

If your worldview is that everyone always has good intentions and “is love” then you overlook something very important: human reality.

All is love is certainly true at the highest level. In Source indeed all is love. But here on Earth? If you look around and follow world news, it is obvious that not everything is an expression of love.

And so it gets complicated, especially for spiritual seekers. Because what a bad thing it is if you would judge… or so many think.

The point is that we all judge and condemn, almost constantly. Byron Katie has even created a great method for examining your judgmental thoughts and turning them into wisdom: The Work. Brilliant!

Giving your opinion

When I use words like beautiful and brilliant I am expressing my personal opinion. Most people don’t mind because it’s “positive”. If I had said that I thought the method was bad or stupid, that would have been my personal opinion as well. But of course, I should not think that….. that’s judging.

How to know the difference between judgement and condemnation

I only condemn when I disapprove in a moral sense: like I have the opinion that something should not be the way it is because it is morally wrong. That is very different from judging, evaluating, assessing and having an opinion.

I like peanut butter and I don’t like bacon. Am I judging bacon? No, but I will never buy it, let alone eat it. Do I disapprove of other people eating bacon? Not at all.

When I made 2 columns to make a comparison, I wasn’t condemning. I put facts together to evaluate the differences. That helps me make an informed decision.

How can you recognize the difference between condemning and discerning or judging? You can feel that difference. Discerning and judging feel neutral. Condemnation gives a feeling of irritation, disapproval, and sometimes even outright anger. “That is not allowed!”


What if someone has a completely different opinion about something? If you can regard the difference of opinion neutrally and as a given, you are not condemning. If you get angry and you think that the other person is not allowed to think that or that his opinion is “forbidden”… then you are condemning.

Is that bad? No. It just gives you information about the limits of your tolerance. No big deal.

But that is my opinion. What do you think about this?


A Soul Realignment Akashic Reading is a great way to clear your soul’s past

and liberate you in the present, also mentally

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