First Reading: 2Kgs 17:5-8. 13-15a. 18; Psalm: 60. R. v. 7a; Gospel: Mt 7:1-5
SEEK TO CORRECT, NOT TO JUDGE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Show a people one thing, and only one thing, over and over again, and that is what you become.” – Chimamanda Adichie (The Danger of a Single Story)
I was watching a football match with a friend. A striker had just missed a beautiful opportunity to score the winning goal for his team. And my friend yelled: “He would have just placed that ball at the bottom corner of the net instead of firing it over the goal post.” I smiled and made no comment. And he further said: “This player could have just used common sense.”
According to Rabbi Hillel, “Do not judge a man until you yourself have come into his circumstance or situation.” For if we find ourselves in similar circumstance, we may be guilty as well. People 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 are blessed with parents, we may not understand the burden of those who grew up without one. If we examine 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 amidst similar circumstances. We should never judge people 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 chastising. 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. Only the faultless has the right to find faults in others. If we can do perfectly 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. If people say that you are a bad singer, you can do better if you try harder. One of the best services we can offer one another is to encourage each other to reach our best.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, help us to appreciate the good in one another. Amen.