“That idiot needs to learn how to drive!” is something that I have certainly said or thought on multiple occasions while driving down the road. Even if we hold our tongues, there are many situations in life that anger or annoy us and cause us to label a person an idiot, a jerk, or something else.
However, the fathers warn us of the danger of labeling someone with a derogatory word. We must be careful to never sum up a human’s entire existence in one unkind thought or word, whether or not it seems justified. Otherwise, we are condemning that person, which is a dangerous sin.
Condemning a man is saying, ‘he is a wicked liar, or he is an angry man, or he is a fornicator.’ For in this way one judges the condition of his soul and draws a conclusion about his whole life…This is a very serious thing. For it is one thing to say, ‘He got mad,’ and another thing to say, ‘He is bad-tempered,’ and to reveal, as we said, the whole disposition of his life.