Sunday, 29 September 2013

No judgement

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged" (Luke 6:37). Judging is a trap, for both parties. Have you ever felt stifled in the presence of another person, unable to be yourself, to be free, to act spontaneously, to love? Then you have felt what it is like to be inside the trap. As for the one who put you there, they may not feel it at all – just a sense of self-satisfaction, perhaps, of confidence or superiority, maybe contempt. Easy to dismiss or justify such feelings, since they don't hurt. Sometimes people keep their friends, enemies, and family members in such cages for many years.

This is a basic fact about the Christian life. We are not here to judge, and if we do we will suffer the same fate our own judgments create for others. How so? By judging others we are at the same time judging ourselves, or putting ourselves in a category – usually the category of the righteous, although there are many variations: we may be trying to drag the other person down to what we think is our level, to keep us company or else avoid confronting feelings of guilt.

The opposite attitude is Mercy, and this is the Christian attitude. Pope Francis is very conscious of this, and in 2001 as Archbishop Bergoglio wrote: “Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No. Christian morality is simply a response. It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, ‘unjust’ mercy... The surprising, unforeseeable, ‘unjust’ mercy... of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same, appreciates me, embraces me, calls me again, hopes in me, and expects from me. This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a never falling down but an always getting up again.”

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