Judging the Actions, Not the Heart

Monday, March 13, 2017

Readings for Monday of the Second Week of Lent

Saints for Today

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“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.” Lk. 6:37

Have you ever met someone for the first time and without even talking to this person suddenly came to the conclusion of what you think of them?  Perhaps it was that they seemed a bit standoffish, or had a certain lack of expression, or seemed distracted.  If we are honest with ourselves we’d have to admit that it’s very easy to come to an immediate judgment of others.  It’s easy to immediately think that because they seem distant or standoffish, or lack that expression of warmth, or are distracted, that they must have a problem.

What’s hard to do is to completely suspend our judgment of others.  It’s hard to immediately give them the benefit of the doubt and to presume only the best. 

On the flip side, we may encounter people who are very good actors.  They are smooth and courteous; they look us in the eye and smile, shake our hand and treat us in a very gracious way.  You may walk away thinking, “Wow, that person really has it all together!”

The problem with both of these approaches is that it’s really not our place to form a judgment for good or for ill in the first place.  Perhaps the one who makes a good impression is simply a good “politician” and knows how to turn on the charm.  But charm can be deceptive.

The key here, from Jesus’ statement, is that we must strive to be non-judgmental in every way.  It’s simply not our place.  God is the judge of the good and the bad.  Sure we should look at good actions and be grateful when we see them and even offer affirmation for the goodness we see.  And, sure, we should notice poor behavior, offer correction as needed, and do it with love.  But judging the actions is much different than judging the person.  We ought not judge the person, nor do we want to be judged or condemned by others.  We do not want others to presume they know our hearts and motives.   

Perhaps one important lesson we can take from this statement of Jesus is that the world needs more people who are non-judgmental and non-condemning.  We need more people who know how to be true friends and love unconditionally.  And God wants you to be one of those persons. 

Reflect, today, upon how often you do judge others and reflect upon how good you are at offering the kind of friendship others around you need.  In the end, if you offer this sort of friendship you will most likely be blessed with others who offer this sort of friendship right back!  And with that you will both be blessed!

Lord, give me a non-judgmental heart.  Help me to love each person I encounter with a holy love and acceptance.  Help me to have the charity I need to correct their wrongdoing with kindness and firmness, but to also see beyond the surface and see the person You created.  In turn, give me the true love and friendship of others so that I may trust and enjoy the love You wish me to have.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross

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