Encountering God and World in Scriptures

Light of truth

Lectio Divina – 5

Fr Martin Kallungal

Reading
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the standard you use will be the standard used for you. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own? And how dare you say to your brother, “Let me take that splinter out of your eye,” when, look, there is a great log in your own? Hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:1-5).

Reflection
Judgements always reciprocate. Therefore, Jesus asks us not to judge. There is, however, difference between judging and evaluating. Jesus does not forbid us from evaluating others. In fact, Jesus tells us not to judge others precisely in light of his evaluation of the Pharisees whom He does not hesitate to call hypocrites. When we evaluate a person, we are making an objective assessment of that person’s attitudes and actions. Evaluation is a factual representation of how the person shows himself/herself up in the society. An evaluator’s source of knowledge is the other person’s actions in period under evaluation. The person who is evaluated may change his attitudes and actions at any future moment; and an evaluation does not deny that possibility. But judging is a subjective final statement about the other. There is an element of condemnation in all judgements. Psychologists tell us that there is some sort of projection in all our judgements. Thus, while evaluating rests upon the acts of the other, judging rests upon our own consciousness. We condemn in others what we hate in ourselves. This is why we become hypocrites when we judge. Apart from hypocrisy, there is also a false sense of superiority behind all acts of judging. One who judges is claiming unconsciously a Godlike knowledge about the other person and his/her actions. Judging not only violates the individuality of a person but also takes the place of God in that person’s life.

Prayer
Thank you, Lord, for teaching me that the judgements I pronounce on others will be returned upon me. Lord, I have judged many persons even when I was not willing to hold myself accountable. Lord, I am ashamed to see that I am a beautiful outward shell of hypocrisy with lot of dirt inside. Help me, Lord, to address the sin in me. Lord, I remember that I have sometimes used your wise advice, “Do not Judge,” as a shield of my sins as well as that of my dear ones. I am sorry for misusing your words in such defensive moments. Teach me, Lord, how to evaluate others without judging them.

Contemplation
Jesus loves me in spite of my sins; He loves others too – even those whom I judge and despise. As He once told the woman caught in adultery, today He tells me, “I do not judge you… Go…” Let me claim and experience the forgiving and empowering love of God in Jesus Christ. With Him let me clear the heaviness of my unconsciousness; otherwise, I will lean again on others with my unlovely judgements whenever their actions make me feel the burden of my own unconsciousness.

Action
I will pray to the Holy Spirit to teach me the difference between judging and evaluating, and to grant me the grace to practice non-judgemental evaluation. I will not set up standards for others that I am unwilling to follow in my own personal life.

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