“Judge not.” This is, arguably, the most violated tenet of the Christian faith. We judge ourselves and each other so much, so fast, so often, that we can’t even see ourselves doing it. Too often, we can’t see it because we think it is actually the right thing to do.
If you are a writer, judging is not only un-Christian. It is also bad technique. When you read a book, you can tell when the author is passing judgment on the characters. Often, this is how an author tries to convey his or her agenda. Certain characters are tagged, subtly or blatantly, as winners or losers. We are urged to feel a certain way about each character. We are expected to rejoice when the winners win and the losers lose, and we are not encouraged to decide for ourselves which characters deserve these dubious titles.
If you ask me, this is manipulative. It is also bad writing.
A well-written character is full of life. It is difficult, even unnecessary, to remember that this person is a figment of the literary imagination. But a character that has been judged by its author is not full of life. It is a predestined, two-dimensional prop, the tool of an overbearing agenda. It has no humanity because it does not have the inherent ability to change, to be more than it appears, to have some redeeming value, even in the eyes of its creator. In short, it is dead.
We are the same as the characters we write. We have life because we are always intrinsically able to change, for better or for worse. We can react against our experiences. We can discover what has been undiscovered about ourselves. But most of all, we are alive because we are not judged by our Creator.