Category Archives: judgement

Judgments and Assessments

A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, “what is this, father?” The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

—Sayings of the Desert

Recently I was attending a function with a clergyperson of another denomination, and we began discussing a mutual acquaintance. Quickly the conversation turned somewhat negative and judgmental. After he made what I thought was a rather harsh judgment, I suggested that I didn’t think we should be passing judgment on the man in that manner. His reply was that he was not judging but making an assessment.

North Africa 2007 262 Wadi el Natrun

North Africa  Wadi el Natrun

It doesn’t matter if we call it an assessment or just plain judgment, the monk gives us some direction about this topic. Our sins are forgiven and run out behind us. They are gone! The world would be a much better place if we refrained from making assessments and followed the path of our Savior who came to heal and forgive.

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On Judging Others

DoretheosWhy are we so ready to judge our neighbor? Why are we so concerned about the burden of others? We have plenty to be concerned about, each one has his own debt and his own sins. It is for God alone to judge, to justify or to condemn. He knows the state of each one of us and our capacities, our deviations, and our gifts, our constitution and our preparedness, and it is for him to judge each of these things according to the knowledge that he alone has. For God judges the affairs of a bishop in one way and those of a prince in another. His judgment is for an abbot or for a disciple, he judges differently the senior and the neophyte, the sick man and the healthy man. Who could understand all these judgments except the one who has done everything, formed everything, and knows everything?

——Doretheos of Gaza

The holy monk gives us advice on judging others. We have all experienced the hurt of being judged harshly by others who are not capable of truly understanding the plight that we are facing. Abba Doretheos puts forth the wisdom of tending our own lives before we judge others. He makes it abundantly clear that only the Holy One could possible know all that goes into our decisions in life, therefore, only He can judge us with wisdom and grace. Different people with varying functions in life have unique needs and are judged by appropriate standards. Only God can be a proper judge.

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