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 (Matthew 7:1).
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:36-38).
The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Even a superficial review of history can remind us that people have done some really evil things. Think of names like Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, or Charles Manson. Is Jesus saying in the Scriptures above that we shouldn’t judge their crimes as evil? Is he telling us to ignore what they have done and practice an extreme form of tolerance instead?
Of course not. We need to make moral judgments. We need to stand up and say that certain actions are wrong. What Jesus challenges us about in these verses from Matthew and Luke’s Gospel is whether we are passing personal judgments against the people we are in contact with every day — judgments that tear them down or puff us up, judgments that are based on self-righteousness and not love. So let’s ask today: How do I view the people who are close to me or those I interact with during the day? Is it with a personal rating scale based on how they treat me, or is it with love and their best interest at heart? Do I assume the best or the worst motives in some of their actions. Do I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt or automatically make negative judgments?
Jesus judged people and situations every day, but he never held hatred or resentment; he never tried to get revenge. Instead, he measured each situation based on the way his Father wanted him to act. We too are called to take on this “mind of Christ” in judging others.
But there is more than a command in these Scripture verses. There is a promise as well: If we put an end to self-centered and self-righteous judgments, we ourselves will not be judged. God will not judge us because he will see in us a heart like his own, a heart of mercy, compassion, and understanding. Such a disposition shows that we have mastered our pride and self-centered ways of thinking. So there is nothing left for God to judge!
Neither will others judge our actions harshly, for the witness of our kindness and compassion will speak volumes about who we are as Catholic men. Even those of a suspicious nature will gradually come to trust and respect us, for we will have become living witnesses to the kingdom of God.
Of course, none of us will get this command completely right — at least not in this life! But isn’t it good to know that the more we try, the closer to the Lord we will get? And the closer God himself will draw to us!
“Lord, today I renounce all my self-righteous and wrong judgments of others. Please help me to see others as you see them.”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/ ), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism , (http://www2.wau.org/partners/ ), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us .
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/ ) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
Prayerfully meditate on the Scripture passages at the beginning of this article. In what ways do they reflect God’s desire that we as Catholic men exercise the right kind of judgment of others? How are you doing?
How would you answer these questions that were asked in the article?
1. How do I view the people who are close to me or those I interact with during the day?
2. Is it with a personal rating scale based on how they treat me, or is it with love and their best interest at heart?
3. Do I assume the best or the worst motives in some of their actions.
4. Do I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt or automatically make negative judgments?
5. How would you compare the way Jesus judged to the way you judge? What steps can you take to put on the mind of Christ in your judgment of others?