Be Merciful

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7: 1- 2

Isn’t it so easy for us to criticize others – whether it’s how a person is dressed, how they act, how they live, or even their opinions and beliefs. We do it with such ease and haste without even considering how judgmental we are being. Instead of looking with such critical “eyes”, shouldn’t we see each other with more loving and merciful ones? Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  

We all find fault in others, and this is one of those verses that can make us feel really uncomfortable. It makes us look more closely at ourselves and we recognize our own participation in such an unloving act. We know that on occasion, we can be quick to form opinions in which we look harshly or unfavorably upon someone, and we aren’t hesitant to share those feelings with others.

Yet, God commands us to love and accept each other graciously. We are not to condemn or be critical of someone’s appearance, character, personality, opinions, or actions. We should not sit in judgment of or condemn people for who they are. Sometimes it is as if we hold others to a higher standard than we do ourselves, and we are often guilty of the same faults with which we accuse others. God wants us to love and accept others just as we expect them to accept us and not have a judgmental or critical temperament.

But isn’t it difficult to do, especially after the pattern of judgmental attitudes we have adopted for so long? We may even try to give individuals ample opportunity to redeem those qualities we perceive to be unacceptable. It is as if we truly do want to look upon them with a more favorable light and try to see the good in them, but first they must conform to our image of who they should be.

How unfair or unjust is it that we just want them to fit our criteria for acceptance? As Christians, we sometimes struggle with this, but we can remember that God is the Justice Maker – we are not – and He will judge all of us. Only He can judge our hearts and lives to see if they line up with His truths.

This Scripture passage is part of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount taken from Matthew 5 -7 in which He gives guidelines to His followers on how to live the good Christian life. We are told not to assume authority over others by judging their words or actions. We are not to look for the worst in others, but to look for the best in them.

Only God can judge another’s heart or his intentions. If we do presume to judge others with pride and superiority, then we may expect to be ourselves judged with the same severity. “The measure of mercy we show others, is the same measure God will show us.”

What a humbling thought! One biblical scholar said it this way: “What would become of us if God should be as exact and severe in judging us as we are in judging others if He should weigh us with the same balance?”  

Prayer

Dear God, we are often so judgmental and unmerciful of others. May we see these individuals with the same loving eyes as you do and accept them with love and grace. Help us to search our own hearts and find compassion for others. For we know that we will be judged by you in the same measure we judge others. Amen 

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