On Judging Right

Luke 6: 36-38
Dn 9:4b-10/ Ps 79:8-9,11,13

For the measure with which you measure, will in return be measured out to you.
(Luke 6:38)

The good in some we may discount
If we always tend to criticize;
We all shall be called to account
At the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful… Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Lk. 6:36-38)

Reflection

Jesus had just taught His disciples the perfect way of practicing love — to love one’s enemies, (Lk.6:27-35) so that they could become “children of the Most high.” As He reminded them in another Gospel version, He wanted them to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt.5:48).

He also admonished them (and us) in today’s Gospel reading to be merciful in the way we judge others, especially those who have offended us or behaved wrongfully against us. His message here is: mercy and forgiveness must take precedence over justice and fairness. Being kind is better than being right. In our lending business, we had been so trusting of our employees that we were shocked to discover that one of them had been pilfering various amounts from loan collections by “kiting” over a period of two years. It was so disheartening because she was an avid participant in our bible-sharing prayer sessions, and often expressed her gratitude for blessings that she had received. She even went to the noon mass at a nearby church daily. We were left with no choice but to put her under preventive suspension until she could return the full amount taken. We could have filed a criminal complaint against her as an example for the others NOT to follow, but this would have “tarred” her for life. She deserved a second chance if she could rectify the wrong that she had done.

In today’s Gospel, our Lord cautions us not to be judgmental, but be able to judge wisely. We must learn how to be discerning of our motives when we deal with other people. That means we have to judge ourselves first before we can judge others. With faith in God’s justice, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to determine not only what is right or wrong, but more importantly, what is pleasing in the eyes of God. We can teach, encourage and rebuke with authority, but it is always with a heart predisposed to mercy that we will receive this gift of sound judgment. Mercy means not meting out the punishment that the sinner deserves. After all, we are all sinners, and we should be merciful, if only out of gratitude for God’s grace that has kept us from falling into the same situation. Jesus told His disciples, “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I am sorry,’ forgive him.” (Lk.17:3-4) We must never tolerate what is wrong, but we must always be predisposed to forgive the repentant wrongdoer.

Have a merciful heart, rather than a judgmental one; forgive rather than condemn; and give of ourselves with compassion, without counting the cost. If we can do these, then our merciful and forgiving Father in heaven will pour out His immeasurable generosity into our life. This is our Lord’s firm and dependable promise.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching us that there is only one standard by which we can judge others, and that is by judging our own motives. Amen.

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