Based on the Merits

Matthew 7: 1-5
Gn 12:1-9 / Ps 33:12-13,18-19,20,22

Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, & the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
(Matthew 7:1-2)

In judging, give the credit due,
The weak deserves some merit too.
The less of prejudice in you,
The more the love of God shines through.

Jesus said, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but do not perceive the beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Reflection

Being a judge in our country’s trial courts can be a daunting task that requires a fair amount of intelligence, hard work, patience, courage, prudence, and integrity. It is a grave responsibility because our judges know that one day, they will also be judged for all the decisions they handed down affecting the lives of other people.

Our eldest brother is a judge in a regional trial court. All of his nine surviving siblings hold him in high esteem for his keen sense of fairness and his proven integrity. His example gives hope that most of our honorable ‘men in black’ uphold the same ideals in our judicial system, notwithstanding some rumours to the contrary.

One such judge who handed a fair and favorable decision changed the life of a young member of our brotherhood from Cagayan de Oro city. Bro. Jun shared how one day, while he was still in college, a tragic vehicular accident scarred his growing years. He was driving in the rain when a woman suddenly ran across his path to flag a passing jeepney. Bro. Jun and his companion rushed her to the nearest hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival. The cause of death was severe hemorrhage from hitting her head on the pavement. His parents negotiated with the family of the victim to compensate them financially for their loss, but the amount the bereaved husband demanded was beyond what Bro. Jun’s parents could raise. The case went to court. After two years, the presiding judge decided that Bro. Jun was innocent of the charges filed against him (homicide), because there was no intent to kill.

We had invited my brother judge to the BCBP breakfast fellowship where Bro. Jun gave this life testimony. Later, I asked my brother how he would have decided if he had been the judge in that case. Not being aware of all the circumstances in the case, he could not give his personal opinion, but he said he would have admonished the driver of the vehicle and his parents to be magnanimous in victory and compensate the family of the victim with their original offer. Indeed my brother showed that our sense of justice must always ruled by compassion.

Grant us the grace, Lord, to be more compassionate in judging those who are prejudiced against us, even if we know we are in the right, just as You have been compassionate to us in our sinfulness. Amen.

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