The Weight of Judgment

The old men used to say, “there is nothing worse than passing judgment.”

They said of Abba Macarius that he became as it is written a god upon earth, because just as God protects the world, so   Abba Macarius would cover the faults that he saw as though he did not see them, and those which he heard as though he did not hear them.

——sayings of the desert

judgment1Some may think that the monk’s way of handling the faults of others is pure denial. I find that idea very realistic, but allow me to add a few layers to this saying on judgment. How much time do you spend agonizing over the faults of others? Do you use the faults of others as an excuse for your own bad behavior? Would admonishing others bring you any closer to God?

A wise person once said, “Become the change you want to see in the world.” People spend untold hours worrying about the behavior of others. Such worries distract us from our work, our families, our spiritual development, and, in some cases, have an impact on our well-being. The wise Native Americans have a saying “Tend your own hoop.” Tending your own hoop means taking care of your own problems and allowing others to do the same.

Over the years I have heard many stories of people who have fallen into hard times and trouble that begin like this, “well, he fell into the wrong company.” Excuses like falling into the wrong company are very lame when it comes to the fate of our souls. To judge ourselves or our love ones in the mirror of the behavior of others is a very dangerous and slippery slope. We should look ourselves in the mirror and ask for God’s guidance every day.

People receive undue pleasure as they admonish others. Such behavior gives a rush of power and confidence. The problem is that all this is at the expense of someone else. When we pray, meditate, worship or do holy reading we are seeking to draw closer to God. When we find fault and become a staunch defender of the faith we spend our time on earthly plain

The hymn “Higher Ground” suggests to us.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,

By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,

A higher plain than I have found;

Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.



Filed under Desert Fathers, Judgment

4 responses to “The Weight of Judgment

  1. Reblogged this on multicolouredsmartypants and commented:
    Wonderful post.
    Jesus said if I want to judge others I must point the same accusing finger at myself. I know for sure I don’t want to do that; I have far too much to ask forgiveness for. I live only by the grace He has gifted.
    Not judging doesn’t mean I ignore, or am deliberately unperceptive to, the sins of others (a head-in-the-sand attitude is what has led to so many travesties, esp. in abuse cases). Not judging others means being aware of the nature of love and of the nature of evil, and of rooting out, by grace, the seeds of evil in myself, so that the seeds of love blossom and bear good fruit (and so that evil is less able to disguise itself as ‘good’).
    God didn’t ask me to be accountable for the sins of others, but I am accountable for myself – and judging is God’s business, not mine. Don’t get me wrong, I still catch myself thinking judgemental thoughts from time to time, but I’m learning to recognise them for what they are and to give them what they deserve – inattention. This applies backwards, too, for those of us who would over-accuse ourselves. To feel guilty over things beyond our control is wrong, and hence a ‘sin’. If God doesn’t point the finger at me for something, who am I to point it at myself?

    • So much of the judgment in the chuch community is over trivial things that the real message is missed. The monk tells us to focus on our journey and that, in itself, will have a greatly positive result. Don’t look for sin, it will find you.

  2. There’s only one Judge. Why is it that we think that being a Christian entitles us to judge others? I would agree, it’s because our false self gets a boost. Thanks for great cartoon!

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