Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”( Luke 6:36-38)
We all know the adage: “What goes round, comes round.” The same image is being taught in today’s Gospel passage. Jesus says that what we send into the lives of others will eventually come back into our own lives. When we cast our bread on the water, it eventually comes back to us. If we send out to others kindness, friendless and forgiveness, then we have God’s promise that it will come back to us in kind. If we send hatred, pain and evil, we should expect to receive the same in return. It’s all so clear and stated so simply. “Judge and you will be judged. Condemn and you will be condemned. Pardon and you will be pardoned.” This doesn’t mean that God will necessarily repay us with our own conduct but other people very well may.
Too often, our ability to be lights of Christ is dimmed because we are too busy judging others – sometimes overtly and sometimes insidiously. We look at a “friend” and expect that friend to be us, to react as we do, to feel as we do and when that person does not, we fault them. Or we look at a stranger whose skin is a different color, or whose behavior is not up OUR standards and we judge; or we decide to “penalize” those whom we judge by subjecting them to gossip, or derision or totally shutting them out of our life. In the United States, politicians and some media figures thrive on issuing judgements and telling us what we should think while their pockets fill up from the money generated by factionalism.
All of that is antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
What makes Christianity so distinctive as a religion is treating others not as they deserve, but as God wishes them to be treated – with forbearance, mercy, and loving-kindness.
God shows his goodness to the unjust as well as to the just. His love embraces saint and sinner alike. God always seeks what is best for each one of us and he teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even those who hate and abuse us. Our love for others, even those who are ungrateful and unkind towards us, must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return.
Perhaps one important lesson we can take from this statement of Jesus is that the world needs more people who are non-judgmental and non-condemning. We need more people who know how to be true friends and love unconditionally. And God wants you to be one of those persons.
Reflect, today, upon how often you do judge others and reflect upon how good you are at offering the kind of friendship others around you need. In the end, if you offer this sort of friendship you will most likely be blessed with others who offer this sort of friendship right back! And with that you will both be blessed!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, your love brings freedom, pardon, and joy. Transform my heart with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper, ruffle my peace, take away my joy, or make me bitter towards anyone.”
The key here, from Jesus’ statement, is that we must strive to be non-judgmental in every way. It’s simply not our place. God is the judge of the good and the bad. Sure we should look at good actions and be grateful when we see them and even offer affirmation for the goodness we see. And, sure, we should notice poor behavior, offer correction as needed, and do it with love. But judging the actions is much different than judging the person. We ought not judge the person, nor do we want to be judged or condemned by others.