The text for Sunday, July 23, 2017: Matthew 7:1-5
This famous text has Jesus telling us not to judge, followed by the example of taking the speck of dust out of our own eyes before we try to remove the logs out of the eyes of others. Along the way we're reminded that we'll be judged in the same way that we judge others.
Some of us should shake in fear at those words. But this morning, as I read them again, I thought about the way I judge others and the way I judge myself. Frankly, I'm much harder on myself. I give others the benefit of the doubt as I remind myself that I can't possibly understand every aspect of what's affecting them.
Meanwhile, in my own head, I hear a chorus of voices that remind me of all the ways I'm not living up to my full potential, of all the ways I've let everyone down. You might think I need some therapy, and you might be right, but I suspect I'm not alone in this. I know many people who are far more gentle with each other than they are with themselves. Just listen to how people talk, and you'll see.
With that in mind, let us return to the text again. This text is not about the way we should judge. No, I believe that Jesus is telling us not to waste precious time in judgment.
It's a variation of what one of my most beloved yoga teachers told me long ago. She caught me looking at a fellow student when I couldn't hold a pose. She said, "Don't compare yourself to your classmates. It won't help. Focus on your own body." It's wise advice in a variety of contexts.
When we judge, we're comparing. Maybe we're comparing to a standard that we feel everyone should be attaining. Maybe we're comparing ourselves to our larger society. Maybe we're finding ourselves superior. Maybe we come up lacking.
It's not helpful. It's not a good use of our time. Jesus reminds us again and again of our main task: to love each other and to love God. Judging doesn't get us there.
Life is very short, and judgmental behavior robs us of many joys. Let us resolve to stop judging each other. Let us resolve to stop judging ourselves. Let us look at the world with a different set of glasses: let us look through the lenses of love.