Pauses for Lent –Day 35 –Judge
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
Matthew 7: 1-2
I have three teenagers in my house, and a nine year old who acts like he is sixteen. If I had to say my children had a favorite scripture it would be this one, because Lord knows we are constantly hearing “Don’t judge me” throughout out house. Of course the irony is that they are always judging (and reporting) on each other.
When I look at the world around us today, I wonder, when did we find ourselves on a planet full of teenagers? The world is always judging folks, and always criticizing those would judge it. Politics, social media, church pews…wherever you look, we are often quick to point out the hypocritical nature of the behavior of “those folks,” all the while ignoring our own.
But if we take these Gospel words in their entirety, we see that judging is not the problem, it is our motivation and self-realization that is.
The scripture continues, “3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”
(Matthew 7: 3-5)
We live in a world where people need to be called on their bluff and poor decisions, especially by those of us who know the eternal consequences. The problem comes when we, as my teenagers do, just want to point out the problem so we can feel morally superior. When we judge, just to judge, we miss the point. Judgement, for Christians, should be a spiritual discipline when we use our insight and discernment to help our brothers and sisters. The scripture doesn’t say just tell your brother there is a speck and pray they don’t go blind. No, our responsibility is to remove the speck before it does greater harm. BUT, we have to acknowledge our own failures first, so that with compassion and charity, we can help our sisters and brothers.
“Lord, during these days or Lenten preparation, help us to judge ourselves and our hearts and repent, that we might with grace and humility help your children find their way on the paths of righteousness.” Amen
Rev. Trey Harper
, Director of Spiritual Leadership
for the MS Annual Conference