“You’re Wrong”

Statement: Condemnation is not love.


At its most natural level, condemnation is an act of self-sacrificing love, and is a necessary part of family, friendship, and thus society. Here I am referring to “Condemnation” as the act of saying, “You’re wrong”.

When a child runs across a busy street without looking both ways, he does so because he does not know any better. It is the job of the parents to instruct the child in no uncertain terms: “What you did was wrong, you could get hit by a car and die”. Parents who love their children will tell them how to act and how not to act. This is condemnation for the loving sake of preservation. This is not the condemnation of pharisees. It is not labeling the child as an evil person. It is not meant to cast them into darkness, but to bring them into the light. The child did not know better and needed to be told.

If the parents of this child were not concerned with his well being, they would say nothing. This self-sacrificial love says, “I love you enough that I want to help you by giving you my best wisdom, knowing fully well that you may grow to resent me for having given it to you”.

Convention of today says that no one is wrong. But do we not still abide by the maxim, “The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem”? To break free of addiction or any other undesirable or self destructive state, we have to say, “I was wrong”, “This is wrong”. It follows that a true friend is someone who can put you in your place when you are acting like a jackass. It comes to the point where refusal to condemn someone when they are wrong, is committing a disservice to that person. We rely on others to tell us when we are wrong.

If I am correct in my reasoning, it must be affirmed that saying “You’re wrong” is at least not always, for lack of a better word, “Wrong” to say. If I am incorrect in my reasoning, someone would have to let me know, by saying, “You’re wrong”. But, obviously, by doing this they are affirming the original statement. Is this out of love? Well, not necessarily, but it does prove the necessity of the action. It also goes to show that the original statement is not universal. It would be better put, “Some condemnation is not love”. But this does not have the power that was desired by the original authors of the statement. This statement comes from people who are either defending or attacking a particular side of an argument. Well, now you know this tactic is fallacious.