“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)”
As elections draw closer and Covid still changes our way of life I have noticed the news, Facebook, commercials have become a constant source of judgment on others. Candidates are publishing judgments of their opponents, news articles are all about the animosity Americans are feeling or acting out on others, Facebook is just a news feed of people thinking other people are wrong. While all of this may leave you feeling drained about the state of the world right now I am choosing to take this opportunity to reflect on how my thought life is doing. I was thinking to myself today how easy it is for me to judge others. Finding fault in others is never something I have struggled with, but focusing on others weaknesses can quickly lead to feeling self-righteous so quickly. Reflecting on Matthew’s words in chapter 7 helps me to check my judgments to make sure I am not falling into sin myself.
Matthew’s first warning is that with the same measure that you judge other people you will be judged. I am well aware that I am not perfect and at times I fail to be selfless, kind, loving..the list goes on forever it seems. I can imagine my own time at the pearly gates sitting in judgment and God bringing up every time I have been quick to point out that “Sally” from the grocery store was rude, or my friend “Joan” put herself above her role as a mother. Then God turns right around with some highlight video sequence of all the times I didn’t stop to help someone at the store because I was in a hurry or too tired, or the times when I am short with my kids who are just being kids but mommy just wants some peace and quiet. I know that when I am judging the Sally’s and Joan’s in my life I am not doing so through the eyes of unimaginable love that I hope God is judging me with. I pray for forgiveness for my sins both known and unknown hoping that God sees the best in my actions and knows who I truly am and want to be. But when I am watching news articles, voting, or just hearing about things my friends and family have done I am not thinking in that moment about how hard they try to be better or that I love them no matter what they do; in those moments of judgment I am only thinking of what they have done wrong.
Let me try to wrap this up in a few “food for thought” points that I tell myself when I am feeling judgmental. First, can I guarantee that I have never or will never make a mistake that I could be judged for? And if I do make mistakes would I want someone to judge me with the exact same attitude of self-righteousness or anger that I am currently judging someone? I think not! It is impossible to not notice when people make mistakes, whether those mistakes are poor choices in our opinion or flat out sins doesn’t matter. But when we do notice we should be quick to forgive and move on, or eager to help in the same loving gentle manner that we would want God to step in and help us when we are in trouble.