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Judging others

Gospel Reading: Mt 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”


When Jesus says, “Stop judging, that you may not be judged,” he does not prohibit recognizing the faults and wrongdoings of others, but speaks out against passing judgment in a spirit of arrogance, pride, and conceit, forgetting one’s own faults.

Judging and condemning others is common, and it is an easy task. We come to conclusions based on our often limited observations of others. Most of us easily label and define the people around us: “He’s an idiot,” “She’s a slut,” “He’s stupid,” or “He is gay.” But who are we to judge? What right do we have to pass sentence over others? We recall Pope Francis saying his now so famous words when he was asked about gays, “Who am I to judge?”

To judge others usually means to think that I am better than them and point out their faults. When we catch ourselves judging somebody, it is good to ask ourselves two questions: Have I never done what I am condemning in this person? Have I investigated objectively the words or actions of that person?

Of course, we cannot tolerate evil when we see it in a person. We cannot close our eyes and ignore injustice done. But we must investigate thoroughly before passing judgment and learn to forgive those who anger us.

Different from the Pharisees, Jesus never judges those considered sinners. He is even “hanging out” with tax collectors and sinners, not to condemn them but to challenge them to welcome God’s Kingdom.

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“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own” (Paulo Coelho).

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