Weekly Grace

Weekly Grace 12 April 2015

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

– Matthew 7:1-5 (NRSV)

The passage above is taken from the Sermon on the Mount, the lecture of Jesus that took place on a mountain, where He taught us the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes. Of course, many more nuggets of wisdom were handed out during this Sermon, and the aforementioned passage, which concerns judging others (or rather,¬†not doing so), is one of them. The way the teaching is discussed seems to imply that “judging” in the sense here is something negative passed onto someone.

Several things happen when we judge others, especially rashly or based on insufficient knowledge of facts. First, we immediately dismiss that person’s other positive qualities by building a figurative wall between us and that person. We put on a lens that makes us see only criticism and negativity there, thereby blinding us to the innate goodness of the person. And as such, second, we hurt their feelings. Third, as the Bible says above, we actually open ourselves to be judged similarly as well.

The thought warrants some reflection – even for myself, as I too¬†find myself at times judging. You do not wish to strike up a relationship, personal or professional, with a certain person simply because you do not like¬†the way they dress. You close yourself off to that person and the potential love and goodness they would share¬†with you. Now let’s say someone else refuses to do the same to you on account of¬†their dislike for how you dress. Now, wouldn’t that hurt?

All right,¬†speaking from the point of view of a student of style, I would say that there definitely are some outfits or things that sacrifice style for other attributes, such as comfort. I personally do not believe in this concept, as my ideal¬†personal¬†style would be to marry fashion and comfort together, and I do agree that some articles of clothing are not appropriate for certain settings. But that is not reason enough to judge the person wearing said kind of outfit. For one, that person may¬†have a physical condition that merits wearing something very comfortable even if it doesn’t look nice. Another, that person may actually be figuring out how to style up. Or, even, that person¬†desires to carry themself that way. We are granted individuality, and we are thus commanded to respect it.

On a deeper level, we also open ourselves to being judged by God. Just as He forgives us our sins, so should we forgive the sins of others Рlest our own sins not be forgiven. The same applies to judging: if we judge others harshly, then we will be dealt with the same way. In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches us not to judge by appearances, but with right judgment (7:24). This right judgment comes only from God, so we should pray for wisdom to judge rightly, if at all.

I would even say that if we are to judge, we should judge¬†positively¬†– that we may emulate the spirit of love and mercy, and that we, too, will be judged positively. Actually, we already do so. It’s called¬†praising. When we praise others, we are judging them positively. Keep on showing kindness like that, and it will return to you threefold, as they say. In the same way, God will also reward you for your kindness and invite you to partake more with Him.

Happy Sunday!

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