‘Suspending Judgement’ is one of the descriptors from Growing deep capabilities: Growing Oneself. This can’t be so hard, can it?
The descriptor says:
- Is aware of when one is judging rather than observing. “There’s no real difference is there?!
- Demonstrates the capacity to ‘suspend’ observations without immediately judging or categorising what one sees or hears. “Hmm, well I ‘observe’ for about 3 seconds and then I am pretty good at jumping to a ‘biased’ judgement e.g. He is so negative all the time. She has no idea. Why am I so hopeless at this? This is an irretrievable situation if we don’t follow this idea.”
- Calmly ‘holds’ anxiety, risk and ambiguity, rather than jumping to irrational or emotive conclusions, or making reactive decisions as a way to ‘move on’. “Well, that depends on what is going down, and who said what to whom and what the impact is, and if I don’t do something now, the sky might just fall down (on top of me anyway!!)
Ok, well obviously this is a struggle for me, and I would suspect others as well. As leaders we are required to engage with diverse perspectives and embrace complexity. This requires us to suspend habits of judgement and to connect with others with our heart and mind.
I am finding that many of the tools and strategies we are using as part of our leadership approach in LESNW are helpful to build awareness of our mental models and habitual ways of thinking and responding. However, there is a fundamental truth that I need to reconnect to and that is that God does not judge but loves me unconditionally.
God does not say to me “Good job suspending judgement in that meeting Mignon, you really nailed those practices!” or conversely “You really screwed that one up!” God IS love (1 John 4:16) and fills me with love and the ability to live this way, despite the past which seems to have engraved in me the notion that I need to be ‘really good’ to be loved and that I am never good enough. This mental model can have a knock-on effect that becomes the lens I view not only myself but also others.
I need to see myself as God sees me and to see others, even those I don’t agree with or want to spend time with as God sees them: loved and precious. I don’t think this means I have to like everyone or even agree, but rather to be compassionate, respectful, and demonstrate grace.
Thank God I do not have to generate this thinking, or way of being myself, but that God gives me the strength, renews my mind, and grows in me the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23). When we take the time to be still, to quieten our mind through contemplation, connecting with God’s Word, connecting with nature, journaling and/or just being aware of God’s presence, we tap into God’s love which empowers us to suspend judgement and to love.
Lutheran schools and early childhood services are communities where grace abounds. While recognising the brokenness of humanity, they reflect the unconditional love of the Father, revealed through the saving work of his Son, Jesus. (Growing deep: our foundation)