When I was young, I read condemn and condone as the same word. Condone is not a common word to hear as a young adult. Honestly I thought that they were interchangeable. Umm, no, they are most certainly not interchangeable. Condemn is to disapprove so greatly that you sentence someone or thing to destruction. Condone is agree and support an action*. Condemnation is a grave label; grave judgment.
I often hear people preface an opinion with “I don’t mean to judge (you)…” Or directly before or after disclosing or doing an action, asking the audience “Don’t judge me…”
What are we truly asking for when we ask people not to judge us?
Don’t condemn me.
Don’t condemn me for my dissenting opinions, potentially off putting actions, or anything that could bring shame or guilt on me.
Do not look down on me because I just shoved this last quarter of the a double chocolate cake in my mouth (I swear it was just one bite… or 20).
Don’t turn away from me because I put my foot in my mouth.
So who can truly judge someone’s actions and intentions? Not I, I am not good enough– I have my faults, shortcomings, and sins. I have a plank in my eye that I must attend too before I condemn a person (Matthew 7:1-5). Moreover only God is good and his son Jesus is Good (Mark 10:18)– that means that He knows no sin and therefore can judge what is good and bad; only He can condone or condemn.
Allow me to clarify something. We make judgments all the time– it is just the we work and most of them are snap reactions. Most of our judgments are about a situation, not a person. They help navigated our day and make decisions quickly. The judgments in which we condemn a person are what I am talking about (think jury and judge in a courtroom handing down a verdict).
Perhaps, the next time you are planning on doing something and you feel the need to preface it with “Don’t judge me;” ask yourself why you’re asking for stay of judgment. Is it because what we are going to do is going to harm, shame, humiliate yourself or others? Why will it bring guilt or shame to you or others?
*I do not think I have heard condone used in a positive manor– it has always been “I don’t/can’t condone your actions…” or in other words, not supportive of the action but perhaps supporting the results. Otherwise, condone is used more or less in condemning context. Funny.