Judge Not

In a recent meeting, a friend shared her wisdom about having been a judgmental person.  She said judgment isn’t only about judging people.  It’s also about judging situations. Something she felt she’d done a lot of.

Judging circumstances as “good or bad,” can sometimes create blind spots, because in the economy of growth, maturity, recovery and building strength—something “bad” can work for “good.”

I thought back to a time when I had to rethink a tough situation in terms of what’s good or bad.

When my son was early in recovery, he wanted to keep his job in California where his home and car were, but planned to spend a year in a different state doing therapeutic work.

He was offered a temporary role in the new location, that would preserve his regular position, but it came with some profound challenges.

Due to geography and his circumstances at the time, he would be required to get up every morning at 5:00 AM to ride the bus for close to an hour, then walk half a mile to the location in 100-degree Texas heat.

He’d have to clean up again when he got into work, work all day, and later catch the same bus route back to his residence.

More than a few of those conditions were new for him.

Many days he would call sounding exhausted, stressed and frustrated. Often describing how he had met someone on the bus ride who was homeless, in active addiction and sometimes in desperate condition.

A lot of days were upsetting.  But he was determined to keep his job, get through that time, do well, and continue onward.

As a Mom, that time was HARD.

I had to work through the desperate feelings the circumstances in his life ignited within me.

I still felt like I’d break having him so far from home. Loving my only child so much in relation to the things that occurred in his life could sometimes feel traumatic.

Daily I wrestled with overwhelming fear, nostalgia, and sadness.   As well, I was at a loss for how to ease his troubles.

Both of us had to accept that this was something he just had to face and get through.

I set my will to be a corner coach, and told myself that none of this was going to kill him.  In fact, it might make him stronger.

Instead of saying, “You poor thing.”  I cheered him on, often saying, “You’re doing incredible things!  You’ve got this, you’re doing it. This is creating amazing strength in you. You’re going to be able to handle anything after this!”

He called me often to hear those words. We both needed to believe them.

The months unfolded, things changed, and that season finally ended. But, even the ending of that time was dramatic. The day he was leaving that state to head back west, he was bit by a brown recluse spider and spent the evening in the emergency room.

Once we knew he was okay, we decided to view even that as part of the beautiful tapestry of life.  That too was part of the building experience, another scar he shows.  Proof of battle!

That season happened a few years ago.  I have to say it’s one experience my son is extremely proud of. He draws strength from the memory, which comes up often.  We both remember it with pride.

We don’t normally brag about the easy days! But we joyfully remember what mountains we climb.

That tough season developed grit, strength, and character in him. That span of time is one of the things I credit for making a strong man out of my son.

It also built resolve within me, and increased my faith that not only shall “This too pass,” but difficult things can work out even better than we expect.

It was a season. Seasons change.

We’re now both grateful for that experience.  We braved through it and ended up better for it.

How often do we want to jump in with a son, daughter, or other loved one and make difficult things easier for them?

Too many times we judge someone’s adversity or struggle as bad; when it might be the very thing to build an inner fire and the strength to handle just about anything! Which is what they’re going to need to get through life.

Don’t be judge the mountains someone you love is called to climb! Examine what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it.  And then get out of their way, tell them they can handle it, and let them climb.

Once they do, they’ll be able to face anything.

There’s victory and joy on the other side of conquering.

Strength and Peace,


Author of books: Unhooked, and Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism and Heartache

Host of:  The Unhooked Podcast

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For information, comfort, encouragement and support:

Codependents Anonymous

Parent Support – TAPU

Family Recovery Support










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