“Snubies” no longer: How I learned to stop judging people in SGA

Jake O’Bannon, SGA VP of Campus Ministries, and Jared Webster, SGA VP of Athletic Relations, work SGA’s NSI Booth in August 2012. (Photo by Kyle Pierce.)

By Ronna Fisher, Assistant Editor

I’m going to be honest: I haven’t always been very supportive of SGA. I’ve used words like “snubie” with a negative connotation. I have been cynical of the motives behind people who are highly involved in SGA. I have been harsh, judgmental and sometimes even secretly cruel towards people in SGA.

Last year I went to LEAD retreat before school started, and my eyes were opened to my judgmental attitude. I grieved over how much bitterness, resentment and even hate I harbored. I grieved over the countless relationships I might have missed out on because I judged. I remember my sister used to always tell me how judgmental I was, but I never believed her; I always had some excuse. I worked on my attitude and perception throughout the school year. I saw some change, and God really worked on my heart. I began to see my judgmental manner was simply a mask to hide all of my insecurities. I judged people I was intimidated by or I thought would judge me. But it wasn’t until I was a participant in SGA training this past summer that I began to have an appreciation for SGA and its purpose.

These students really do have a heart for God and for the students at SNU. They work so hard before, during and after events to make them enjoyable and fun for everyone. They start planning long before school ever starts and they spend a lot of late nights getting things ready for events such as SNL. Perhaps you always knew this, had no doubts, but maybe you are like me. Maybe you are blinded by your insecurities, fears or critical attitude. I am not saying that SGA is perfect. I am not saying that students in SGA are always welcoming, easy to befriend or understanding. SGA might not always do the best job of representing their goals or purpose. But I have seen that they do care and they do try. Sometimes students are critical of other “cliques” or friend groups: “They move in packs. They never talk to me or try and include other people.” But, what do we do? If I have a close friend in a room or at a meal I will sit with that person, talk to only that person and never attempt to break out of my close comfort-level of friends. It’s only human nature to attempt to find a place where you are comfortable and stay there. Maybe it’s time to give SGA (or whatever group of people you find yourself resenting) a second chance, or at least try not to be so critical.

This isn’t easy. I struggle with this all the time. I find myself talking negatively about “the cool people” or the “not-so cool people,” as if I were better than everyone else. I would judge others for judging! How backwards is that? I am doing the exact thing that I do not want other people to do. And I have missed out on possible relationships or knowing someone who is absolutely amazing by allowing my fears to become judgments. I only hurt myself when I put up these condescending boxes around other people.

I know this is a little cliché, but every time we judge someone, we judge one of God’s creations. We judge someone that Jesus gave his life to save, that God has a plan and purpose for. We don’t allow them to become the people God intended them to be. We put them in a labeled box and we don’t allow them to become the beautiful, complex beings that they are. God has already given the stamp of approval. We take that away from others and ourselves when we judge unknowingly . . . or at all.

Do find yourself putting others in a box? Are you missing out on amazing friendships because you have labeled someone in your mind? Am I a lone judge? When I find myself harboring judgment or resentment against others, myself, or even God, I remember, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you,” Ephesians 4:31-32.