If I don’t judge and criticize someone who is doing something wrong doesn’t that mean I condone what they’re doing? Am I not on the side of the bad guy? Don’t the dark forces win? This is an exaggerated but valid claim. The idea that I don’t have to have an opinion about everything was so revolutionary that it took me quite a while to figure out what that even means. In reality most things don’t need our wise counsel: the guy who didn’t hold the door open for you will not magically transform into a gentleman if we curse him inside our head. The same is true for the jackass driver or the lady who is always late. The only thing judging achieves in all of these cases is that you feel bad about something without getting any kind of improvement out of it.
Yes but what if someone really did something wrong? If we look at how people actually change for the better blaming and judgment are somehow never at the beginning of a transformational story. Or have you heard anybody ever say: “I went to this debate and then my opponent pointed out how and why I was not only wrong but being an idiot. I saw the light then and there and have been a member of his party ever since.”
For difficult questions and challenges to be effective we need some social capital, something that holds us together. A judging climate is unable to create that social capital. Compassionate curiosity is.