Every now and again, I’ll have a lightbulb moment.

These are great things to have, I hope you know.

It shows we’re still learning, hopefully still growing, and the proverbial old dog can still learn a few new tricks.

This one may step on a few toes, though, I must warn you.

Since it stepped on my own first, I trust you’ll allow me to continue.

I was driving along recently, reflecting on this and that.

Have you ever had something pop up out of nowhere and catch you completely off guard as it’s a combination of something very obvious and yet a surprise that it’s never occurred to you before now?

This is what happened to me.

I was thinking about the concept of being judgmental.

Most folks probably don’t want to be called that.

Truth is, it’s not a very wonderful quality to have.

We probably would all prefer to be considered open-minded, accepting and all the feel good adjectives we can get.

It took me back to something my dad used to say on a parallel topic.

The subject came up one day when he asked someone if they were going to be at church. The man mumbled on about why he “couldn’t make it.”

That’s when the words of wisdom poured from my father’s mouth.

“The difference between a reason and an excuse is who’s viewpoint it is,” he said, explaining, “If I tell you why I’m going to do or not do something, that’s my reason. But when you hear it, you could very well think it’s an excuse.”

It’s the same with judgment.

When we overhear comments others have made about us, especially the biting ones that are not comfortable or flattering, it can be real easy to rise up in arms and be offended.

In other words, when we’re on the receiving end, we might feel judged.

But when we’re the one doling it out and telling others what we think or feel, about them or anyone else, it is real easy to veer away from the word judgmental.

Certainly not! That’s my opinion. It’s just what I’m thinking. Nothing personal.

No offense.

Funny thing about the word offended. We may like to appear like nothing offends us, that we’re above the fray and so easy-going everyone would want to be us.

If, however, hours later we are still stewing about whatever was done or said about us, it might be that we’re not so unaffected.

Using that analogy, apply it to reason versus excuse and judgment versus opinion.

On those occasions when you’re about to weigh with your strong feelings or “opinion” about someone else, turn the tables and consider how you might feel if those same sentiments were shared about you.

Would you consider it a compliment or feel judged?

Would you say those same words to the person’s face?

I’m just saying, life is one big two-way street. If you don’t want to hear such words, don’t say them about others.

But don’t take my word for it.

Someone far wiser than I put it best — Judge not lest ye be judged.