The Gospel according to Matthew (7:1-5)
Jesus said to his disciples: “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.”
Reflection: It seems that we judge all day long. We live in a world with extreme tendencies and it’s becoming acceptable to be harsh and critical of others. All you need to do is read a newspaper, browse social media, or watch the news programs to see that our world culture is one that is continually growing in the tendency to analyze, scrutinize, and criticize. This is a real problem.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus wants to redirect us from the road we are heading down and help to free us of this heavy burden. So, an important question to ponder is this: “Is Jesus talking to me? Do I like being judged upon? Do I struggle with being judgmental?” If the answer is “Yes,” fear not and do not get discouraged. Seeing this tendency and admitting it is very important and is the first step toward the virtue which is opposite of being judgmental. The virtue is mercy. And mercy is one of the most important virtues we can have today.
After thinking about this Gospel for the last couple of days, I asked myself this question. Why is it so important for us to judge someone? An article from “Psychology Today” states that “judgmentalism is about safety. If you are the “better person” in a given scenario, you don’t have to worry that you might be the “worse” one. You don’t have to reckon with potential feelings of inferiority, shame, and generally not being good enough. Judgmentalism destroys relationships. If you are better than someone, you are apart from them. You are above them, not beside them—and so nobody is beside you.”
This sentence, from above, really hit home with me, Judgmentalism destroys relationships (or potential relationships). The good news is that maybe you can recognize that you do have choices. Whether you are judged or being judged, you can choose not to perpetuate the cycle. You can let go of needing to be better than other people and start holding onto being enough for yourself. You can see yourself as worthy of love and other people as worthy of love, and rest in the knowledge that there is enough love to go around. You can make space for your own vulnerabilities and others’ vulnerabilities, maybe including judgmentalism. When we practice kindness for others, we also find more space to extend it to ourselves.
It’s about knowing that you can afford to be generous because you are enough and there is enough to go around. Extending some kindness does not diminish me; instead, it makes the world that I exist in a better place to be. This reminds me of a phrase that I learned on the streets … “I may not be eye candy, but I sure am soul food”.
Action of the Day: Today, count all the times that you heard someone judge or that you judged yourself. Remind yourself that mercy is always far more rewarding and satisfying than being judgmental. It produces joy, peace, and freedom. Put mercy in your mind and commit yourself to seeing the blessed rewards of this precious gift.