Recently I found myself judging a situation that did not directly involve me. I reacted as a mom, saying that I could not believe how another mother would agree to something. Only later, I heard more details that prompted me to re-evaluate, and her actions made sense. Instead, I was baffled by the other person involved.
As the details continued to unravel, I found myself going back and forth, revising my judgments. At the end, I realized I would never know the full story, all the different events and feelings that culminated in the current scenario. Judging should not be my initial response. Nonetheless, because there is an inclination to consider human experiences and place value judgments, it is an on-going challenge to catch myself from judging others and to instead re-direct my thoughts.
Sometimes my judgments come in the form of trying to give advice or helping people process scenarios. The last line provides guidance to think about how I can better support others when that is the case. The more I can refrain from judging as an initial response and instead focus on my own weaknesses in the midst of my efforts to live a holy life, the more I can understand and sympathize.
When I stop and take a step back, it helps me to be able to compassionately help remove the splinter, with the purpose of bringing peace. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is a perfect time to reflect and consider how we respond to our own actions and those of others.
Consider a time when your initial response was to judge. How could you have responded in a way that would demonstrate Jesus’ love, compassion, and mercy? How might you proactively use this information to respond differently to similar scenarios in the future?
Lord Jesus, help me to demonstrate your mercy towards those I encounter in my day to day life, recognizing my own faults, rather than unfairly focusing on those of others. Help me to respond with love and compassion, rather than judgment.