The Pitfalls of Judgment

In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the act of “judging” someone is euphemistically referred to as “taking their inventory.”

The Illusion of Judgement

While sitting in a meeting, looking at another member, and listening to what they say, it’s easy to make hasty and ill-informed judgments. However, it’s crucial to understand that people’s pasts often significantly influence their current behaviors and attitudes. One can only grasp this by knowing more about the person in question. This highlights the wisdom behind the widely heard admonition to “judge no one!”

The Unfairness of Assumptions

At its worst, judgment involves making assumptions that often prove false. Challenging individuals may have undergone terrible experiences that have shaped their behaviors and attitudes. What makes it even more difficult is that they may not even realize their behavior is problematic.

The Power of Compassion

Is it any surprise that compassion is a value that spans multiple religious disciplines? It might be the most spiritual of all virtues.

Conflict Between Judgment and Compassion

For years, I found myself torn between irritation and judgment for people who displayed rude and inconsiderate behavior. They were the ones who would arrive late, talk during the meeting, play with their phones while others were sharing, or allow their phones to ring. Particularly irksome were those who would arrive late, insist on sharing, and then leave early, disrespecting those who were punctual and remained throughout the meeting.

A Revelation about Rude Behavior

“Should I be more compassionate here?” I would often ask myself. Then one day, it dawned on me that unless the person is new to AA or unaware of basic civility rules, their behavior is simply rude and inconsiderate. There’s little judgment involved in recognizing and calling out such behavior.

The Root Cause and a Possible Solution

Interestingly, the root of most rude behavior is self-centeredness and a lack of consideration for others. Perhaps this is where our old friend, the spiritual principle of compassion, needs to come into play. Being considerate and kind undoubtedly seems more spiritual than being self-centered and rude.

Ultimately, it’s clear that rudeness lacks spirituality. Embracing compassion and understanding could be a significant step toward mitigating such behavior within the AA community.