Grace to you!
Chris’ coworker and “friend” was suspended from work. Rumors went around the block regarding what he may have done, resulting in the suspension. Chris decided to pay him a visit. He felt some sort of loyalty to offer him some pieces of advice moving forward.
The visit turned out to be one of the most humiliating Chris ever had. He had come with a prejudgment about what his friend had done wrong and how he must change his attitude. He rehearsed all the gossip, the hearsay from rumor mongers who seem to know everything about everyone else.
Chris’ friend was eerily quiet while he went on with his prejudgment of the situation. In the end, he asked Chris, “Have you heard my side of the story?”
It turned out that he was simply a scapegoat for malicious power players in the organization. He was innocent. Actually, he was the victim, not the villain. Chris realized he had messed up. So moved, he decided never to judge people on hearsay or to pass judgment when he didn’t have all the facts.
Reading the gospel of Matthew 7:1-5, we hear these strong words from our Lord: “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 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? 4 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? 5 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.”
How do we take these in? The biblical scholar of the 4th century, Saint Jerome, suggests it doesn’t mean we desist from all forms of judgement. Rather, it means we avoid getting into judgement of things that do not concern us. Similarly, according to him, it means in cases we have to judge, we must always be guided by the desire first to exonerate than to condemn.
It means that for the believer, our first desire is to find reasons to excuse people. We come from the background of charity and love. As St. Paul says, love is kind, patient, bears all things (1 Cor 13:4-7), and seeks ways to excuse people.
How often we jump into things and get tangled with affairs that have no relevance to us and our growth. We seek stories or like to watch the news or news stories that are so judgmental and polarizing. We get stressed. We chew more than we can swallow. Like collectors, we amass a litany of problems in our head and they weigh us down. When, in the first place, we do not need any of those concerns.
Here is the thing: When one is virtuous, the person tends to see the good in all things. When the heart is crooked, nothing is straight. For a negative-minded person, all is full of skirmishes, brokenness and evil. The world is completely evil.
When people are obsessed about something, they often see that all around them. It becomes a cloud to their judgment. Things are judged from that perspective. Our judgements are perspectival. Only God has the entire picture. Hence, we leave ultimate judgement to God.
Lord, give me grace to avoid hasty judgements and conclusions. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Weekday 12 B: 2 Kgs 17:5-8, 13-15A, 18; Mt 7:1-5]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.