"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned." Lk 6:37
Judging the motives of others is natural, but dangerous. Someone acts in a way that makes no sense to us and we immediately interpret it. In this election year we might find ourselves saying, President Obama is just trying to assure himself the women's vote, or Mitt Romney is trying to hide his wealth. We often base these judgments on one thing we heard on the news or our political prejudices. To this point, this kind of thinking and judging is normal and necessary. Not exploring our judgments and conclusions, and dismissing another person or political position completely based on very little evidence, is where we get ourselves in trouble with the Gospel.
Jesus was always being judged. Those threatened by his message tried to convince others that he only wanted to wrest power from the Pharisees and Sadducees, and exalt himself as a prophet and healer. It was very difficult for his enemies, and for us, to encounter a totally other centered person. Jesus came to announce the Good News of his Father. He wanted to remind us that we are saved and have only to turn to God in faith to receive this great gift. The gratuitousness of his goodness was too much to accept, even though it was only a fulfillment of what God had promised the Jews long before.
Judging without facts in order to undermine the goodness or motives of others for our gain is a sin, one which we should pray to be freed from this Lent. When indeed we encounter someone who apparently is manipulating others for his or her own gain our obligation is to confront them, not to destroy their person or reputation.
Today, judge others with God's compassion.
When are you most tempted to sit in judgement of others?