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.”(Mat 7:1-5)
Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Life in the Lordship of Christ’ writes, ” Each time we have judged someone and then had the chance of reflecting on our own behaviour. It is typical of human nature to judge and condemn in others what is particularly displeasing in ourselves but which we lack the courage to face; the miser condemns meanness, the sensuous sees sins of lust everywhere and there is no one more able than a proud man to notice sins of pride around him. But the question of judging others is a delicate and complex one and cannot be left incomplete if it is not to seem unrealistic. How can we, in fact, live without ever judging anyone at all? Judgement is implicit is us, even in a glance. We cannot observe, listen, live, without forming an opinion, that is, without judging. Indeed, it is not so much from judging others that we must free our hearts as from the venom with which we judge. That is from the resentment and condemnation in us, In Luke’s writings, the command given by Jesus. ‘Do not judge and you will not be judged’, is immediately followed by : ‘Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.’ (Lk 6:37) As if to clarify the meaning of the command. In itself, judging is a neutral act, the judgment can end in either in condemnation or absolution and justification. It’s the negative judgements that are reproached and banished by the Word of God, those that condemn both the sin and the sinner at the same time. A mother and a child an outsider can judge a child for the same fault which, objectively speaking, the child possesses; but how different the two judgements are! The mother, in fact, suffers as if the fault were hers, she feel equally as responsible and determined to help the child. She doesn’t go about talking of her child’s faults to the four winds.”
What is more just and merciful than for Jesus to judge us by the same standard that we judged others? When we are merciful in our judgments we are asking Jesus to be merciful to us. When we condemn others we are asking Jesus to condemn us. One early church father said, “We ought not to expect mercy from Jesus if we are unwilling to give it to others.”
May we be merciful in our thoughts, words and actions.