Vegan Sikh Geek

Reader Question: Judging Others' Actions

August 18, 2012

Is it right to challenege people on their actions/ words when they contradict the beliefs they say they hold? Or should we not judge, let it pass and concentrate on our oneness as opposed to our differences? Sometimes I can not let things go, and I start sounding preachy or very opinionated. I feel like this is not the right approach??

I pray that I am able to respond to your questions and not misrepresent the teachings of my spiritual teacher, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

The following assumes that a third party isn’t being hurt by the actions/words to which you referred.

You’re absolutely right that we shouldn’t judge others like that, as we ourselves have fallen in the past and will continue to fall. In those situations, it’s likely we would more appreciate a kind hand-up than someone saying, “Didn’t you realize that it would cause you trip?” We should extend the same courtesy to others. Depending on how open my relationship is with some people, a hand-up to them can come in the form of a figurative kick in the rear because they prefer it, but the default is to be kind and open.

Before even assuming that a situation is what is, it’s best to get clarification, and asking questions isn’t the same thing as challenging. It’s quite possible that the person is ahead of us on the spiritual path. There’s no way to know and, in fact, it should be assumed out of humility. In the Sikh scripture, the following verse was uttered by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji:

ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਚੰਗੇ ਬੁਰਾ ਨਹੀ ਕੋਇ ॥
ham nehee cha(n)gae buraa nehee koe ||
I am not good. No one is bad.

Questions should be phrased accordingly. If the person doesn’t wish to discuss it, it can be left as is. A discussion tends to be fruitless if both parties aren’t willing to have it. As you said, we should concentrate on our oneness. I also used to often not let things go where I thought someone was wrong.I’m not judging you, but I do say from experience that it was more out of ego and it was really my way of letting them know that I knew better than they did. A change in thinking very positively affected the change in approach.

God Bless.

Navdeep Singh

Written by Navdeep Singh. His work is on GitHub. He's also on LinkedIn.