For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
As a kid I loved watching court room dramas like Perry Mason. I always thought it would be cool to grow up and be a judge. However, as I matured and began to realize how difficult and dangerous it can be to judge someone’s intentions, I changed my mind. Judgment is a two edged sword that can cut right or wrong; judge wrong, and the innocent are hurt.
Jesus never said we shouldn’t judge in this world. I know, He did say, “Judge not that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). But, He also said we are to take the speck out of our own eye before we judge another for the log we see in theirs (Luke 6). I think Jesus was telling us we better be very certain of the truth before we make a judgment of someone. It’s pretty much impossible to be certain of someone’s intentions when you don’t know their heart, and only God sees what’s in the human heart.
So, rather than judge our neighbor, why not show them mercy? Why not give them the benefit of the doubt? Certainly we still need laws, courtrooms and judges if we are to live in a civilized society, but most of us are not judges, and we don’t have all the evidence needed to know the truth of someone’s actions.
Like Jesus said in the Beatitudes, St. James tells us there is no mercy for one who has shown no mercy. And for the one who has shown no mercy, their own judgment will be harsh. I don’t know about you, but I want all the mercy I can get on my judgment day. God’s mercy flows in waves but when we judge our brother or sister wrongly, we build a dam to block it. Let’s stop building dams and let the waves of mercy flow.
Grace and Peace,
Father of all mercy, help me not to be judgmental of my brother or sister and forgive me for the times I have been. Help me not to be dam that blocks the flow of your mercy. Amen.