Matthew 7: 1 - 5

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

“He never said a bad word about anyone in his life.”  “She always took folk as she found them.”  These are phrases that we hear often especially when a cleric or a family friend are eulogising!  I wonder if we looked into our heart of hearts whether we could genuinely claim either of these for ourselves?  But, we don’t need to speak out loud to judge.  We can judge simply in our attitude towards another or even how we look at them.  It can be obvious but it can also be oh so subtle.

If truth be told, we all have deep seated prejudices borne out of past experiences or even misconceptions and misunderstandings.  A similar principle is at the heart of today’s reading as was at the heart of yesterday’s.  We want God to judge us lightly and mercifully but there are times when we do not demonstrate the same grace when it comes to others we perhaps do not understand or have not taken the time to understand.

What is evident in this passage and throughout the ministry of Jesus culmination in his death and resurrection is judgement not standing on its own but judgment and mercy going hand in hand.  Yes, the world needs to be ordered, wrongs righted and injustices challenged and overturned.  We need to set standards in our lives when it comes to how we live and how we relate to others, but we must never sit in the place of judgement and pretend that we are God or try do his job.

Our focus is to ensure that our own house is in order and that the plank of wood in our eye is dealt with rather than being obsessed with the speck of dust in the eye of another.  It is important that we recognise with all humility that we are in this together and that, as stated yesterday, we all for short and need the mercy of God and need the prayerful and loving support of each other:  that the mercy we have known is the mercy we show to others.

Judgement comes in different forms and its fierce flames are fanned into life in so many different ways.  In returning to yesterday’s themes it is only love and mercy, welcome and acceptance that will come to smother the flames of judgement and fan into life the flames of love.

  • Have you ever been judged harshly?  How did it feel?  Have you judged others harshly?  How might your attitude be softened towards others?

May love overcome hate;

light overcome darkness;

mercy overcome judgment.

May the love of Christ within and around us and within us make this possible.