Monday, March 5, 2012

It is much harder to judge yourself than to judge others

This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people. - C. S. Lewis

Gospel text (Lk 6:36-38):
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you."

“Be merciful as your Father is merciful,” captures the essence of our relationship with others and with God. The “measuring stick” of our mercy is how we treat each other.

The Lord commands us not to judge or condemn others. However, that does not mean we should not recognize sins in our society and not address sinful behavior, which opposes the Natural Law and the Ten Commandments. The Catholic Church addresses such behavior so it will cease in our society and in those we love who are in our lives. Then we should leave the judging and sentencing up to God.

For example, if you know a person is committing the sin of adultery, you should love the person enough to talk to them about repenting of it (see Ez 3:17ff; 33:7ff). If this doesn't help free the person, you should talk to anyone with authority over the person, such as a parent or priest. Hopefully, this will stop the person from further sinful, self-destructive acts. Then we should leave it in God's hands. He alone is the Judge and the One with the authority to sentence unrepentant sinners. Our task as good Catholics is simply to warn, intercede for, teach, and serve all those we come in contact with.

Not judging or condemning does not mean doing nothing, being passive, or being permissive. Rather, we must bring back those straying from the Truth (Jas 5:19-20).

Do you love people enough to give them only the best, that is, the truth and light of God's word? If you truly want to understand much more of God's word, you can. Receive God's word "not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God at work within you who believe" (1 Thes 2:13).

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