Monday, June 25, 2012

Can you imagine if we got what we deserved?

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.  – CS Lewis (The Case for Christianity )

(Gospel Text   Mt 7: 1-5)  
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother,
'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,'
while the wooden beam is in your eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."

One of the few serious sins admitted in our culture is that of being "judgmental." In our secular humanistic society, to be promiscuous, addicted, lying, greedy, lustful, or proud is to be tolerated, but to be “judgmental” (as it is perceived by society) is nearly the unforgivable sin.

Jesus commands us not to judge. The misunderstanding and misrepresenting of this command in the last few generations has led to a permissiveness which has warped and/or destroyed millions of people. Permissiveness is not love; it is either ignorance, the selfishness of apathy, or cowardice.

Jesus commands us not to judge others in certain ways, but this is not the same as what the world means by being judgmental. Jesus tells us to judge first our own sins and repent (see Mt 7:5). Then we should judge what is sinful according to the teachings of the Church and the Bible. Permissiveness is not avoiding the sin of judging others, but is committing sins of apathy and cowardice. Not judging sins is as sinful as committing a sin yourself. Refusing to call a sin "a sin" is also a sin. Refusing to correct a sinner by refusing to speak the Truth (with a capital T) is yet another sin.
However, it is not our business to judge the subjective guilt of others (Mt 7:2). Although we can often know whether other people are doing right or wrong, we don't know whether those who sin know what they are doing (cf Lk 23:34). Also, because it is not our business to judge the subjective guilt of others, we obviously shouldn't be sentencing others to various punishments for their sins (see Mt 7:2).
Let's stay out of the business of unforgiveness and vengeance, and stay in the business of speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15) and being ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18).

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