Non-judgmentalism and the Concept of Listening

Today, in a world of labels and phobias, I see a new problem seriously taking centre stage across the globe. And on the long haul, we would be lesser for this if we don’t quickly nip it in the bud.

Whether you call it profiling or labelling, we simply aren’t listening to people who think or believe differently from how we do, simply because of a fundamentalism bias that says we have the superior argument or conviction and they don’t; or blankly, because we are conservative and the liberals are wrong; or because we are white and we find ‘Black Lives Matter’ putridly offensive. The idea that people should just be quiet because they don’t share the same views as us. And therein lies the problem.
People are people. And something fundamental about people is their right to differing opinions, views and causes of action on issues.
And a point to note is that human beings are tribal and tend to drift towards commonality because of the safety and convenience  of conformity. But to allow this tendency to drive your every action is to deprive yourself of the greatest opportunity of being human; the opportunity to learn.
As a person of faith, my beliefs about being non-judgmental are solidified by the words of Jesus at his famous Sermon on the Mount:

Judge not, and you shall not be judged.

Not judging people on the basis of our beliefs allows us to soak in their perspectives and learn from them. It gives us access into the deepest recesses of another because listening is how you connect to the heart of another.
There is a common usage in Nigeria which says,

‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

While this may be true for some, I hold a different view. The way to any person’s heart is through your ears…and this only begins to happen when you take off the blinders of personal bias, race, religion or political affinity…and just listen without judgement.



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