First Reading: Gn 12:1-9; Psalm: 33. R. v. 12b; Gospel: Mt 7:1-5
DO NOT JUDGE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“‘Judge not, that you be not judged.’” (Mt 7:1)
According to Rabbi Hillel, “Do not judge a man until you yourself have come into his circumstance or situation.” For if we found ourselves in similar circumstance, we may be culpable as well. Those brought up in Christian homes know nothing of the temptation of those brought up on the streets or in a ghetto pervaded by crime. If we grew up under our parents, we may not understand the challenges of those who grew up without any. If we considered the circumstances surrounding the upbringing of some people, we may come to realise that perhaps we would have been worse compared to them if brought up under similar circumstances. We should never judge anyone because we do not know the whole fact of a person.
There is always something good in everyone. An irascible person on the one side could be a generous person on the other side. We should learn to see more of the beautiful and not the ugly side of a person. This does not mean shying away from rebuking; but that we should correct rather than judge. “Jesus was not saying we cannot prevent a sinner from sinning; we have to correct him, indeed, though not as the enemy seeking revenge but, rather, as a doctor applying the cure” (St John Chrysostom). The manner of approach makes the difference.
The reason why we shouldn’t judge is simply because no one is good enough to judge the other person. Only the faultless has the right to find faults in others. If we can perfectly do what we criticise in people, only then do we have the right to judge. There are gifts that lie behind every imperfection. We only need to break through that imperfection to realise these gifts. There is efficiency in every deficiency. People may criticise us as not good enough for a particular job; but we can bring out our best if we challenged ourselves. We cannot always evade the criticisms of others; however, these criticisms should refine us and not destroy us.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, help us to appreciate the good in one another. Amen.