Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you.
George Carlin once said “Have you ever noticed that those that drive slower than you are idiots and those that drive faster than you are maniacs?” How true it is, because when we make a judgment about someone else, we are using our own beliefs as the standard for what is “right”. Pretty presumptuous of us when you think about it – considering the human being is perfectly imperfect.
The truth here is this: There is only one who has the capacity to see the whole picture well enough to make a judgment and that is God. God sees our whole selves – our hearts, our motivations, our intents, our pasts, our gifts, our opportunities, etc. It is God, and only God, that can truly judge our behavior and help us to heal and change what is wrong. But, somehow, as humans we so quickly forget this and jump into the role of judge and jury. Why is that?
It is often said that what we judge or criticize in other people is often a mirror image of a shortcoming we have or are afraid of having in us. Perhaps if we do a bit of self-reflection when we find ourselves being judgmental, we will see that we are really judging ourselves as well. Jesus instructs us today to stop judging, stop condemning, forgive, and give. We can do this because God has already done it for us. God is not passing judgment or condemning us. God has forgiven us our trespasses, and given us so many good gifts. God is simply loving us and inviting us into a relationship that will help us to accept ourselves and one another so that we may live a life filled with hope, peace, joy, courage, and confidence. Those gifts are not available to us when we spend all our energy in judgment.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “There is someone I love, even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept, though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive, though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is me.”
Maybe today we can try not judging, not condemning, forgiving and giving – both to others and to ourselves. I bet by the end of the day we’ll have discovered how difficult a task this is, and give thanks to God who gives these gifts so quickly and freely!