A judge using their gavel

Judge Yourself

I hear it all the time. Don’t judge! Under most circumstances I hear this as a defense of someone’s behavior. We cling to God’s warning against judgment not for salvation sake, but for our self-interest. We think if we are not judged by those around us, then our behavior is given the ‘green light’ to continue. We forget that God is still going to judge us.

There are all sorts of exhortations against any form of correction in our society. Sayings such as live and let live. You do you, and I’ll do me. There are more, but you get the point. We are always trying to avoid judgment. Still, judgment cannot be avoided.

This doesn’t mean we should go ahead and judge others. Christ is warning us that how we judge others, that is how we will be judged. Do we judge with mercy or scorn? Do we forgive or seek vengeance? I learned a long time ago that I have so much of my own spiritual work to do, I don’t have time to judge others’ behaviors.

In today’s Gospel lesson below, Christ offers a way to focus on our sins. “Ask….seek….knock!” These three exhortations from Christ say it all. If you want to stop judging others, ask God to help you stay focused. Seek a way to fight your temptations. Knock on God’s door and He will open your heart.

I wonder sometimes if we will even be able to see the door to heaven until we have removed the log from our own eye. When it comes to judgment, the log is our ego. It seems like we can never get away from our ego.

Saint John Chrysostom teaches us to turn our passions against ourselves to defeat temptation. Are you tempted to judge someone? Use the desire to judge to judge your own actions. Eventually you will realize you have so much work to do on yourself, you will stop judging others.

The Lord said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log 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 brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7.1-8

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