Gospel: Mt 7:1-5
Do not judge; and you will not be judged. In the same way you judge others, you will be judged; and the measure you use for others will be used for you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, and not see the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Come, let me take the speck from your eye,’ as long as that plank is in your own? Hypocrite, remove the plank out of your own eye; then, you will see clearly, to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.
In today’s gospel reading we hear Jesus warn us, “Do not judge and you shall not be judge.” Judged by whom? By God, the experts tell us because often in the Bible, when the passive voice is used and no actor is mentioned, then we are indirectly referring to God. So this question of judging other people is serious business, since it involves the judgment or condemnation of God.
But here the practical application of the prohibition to judge others raises acute problems. Is it always possible not to judge when we have to hire or fire employees, evaluate performances, assign duties, etc. In fact, is it desirable not to judge when we have to discipline children, rebuke subordinates, correct abuses? The solution to this problem lies in the distinction between action and person (or the heart in biblical terms). One’s actions are not always an adequate expression of one’s heart: some people perform good actions for the wrong motives (v.g. the Pharisees), and some people perform objectively wrong actions but with the best intentions (the apostle Paul before his conversion). And so, we can judge a person’s actions, but only God can judge a person’s heart because only God can see the depths of the human heart.
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