Don’t judge. Always forgive. Be merciful. And LOVE!
Gospel Reflection for March 6, 2023
“Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6:36-38 NABRE)
We’ve all caught ourselves looking down on others for one reason or another. Though we know that we are sinners and often do wrong ourselves, we are still quick to pick out the sins and faults of others. Perhaps we’ve judged others for gossiping, saying God’s name in vain, dressing immodestly, fornicating, cheating, becoming easily angered or impatient, or for getting divorced and remarried multiple times.
Whatever our reason is for judging others, we must remember that the way in which we judge others, will be how we are judged in return. Though it is most definitely important to recognize the difference between right and wrong, it is not up to us to judge others for their actions.
Furthermore, we must not withhold forgiveness from those who have committed wrongs. Why should we, who are sinners, refuse to forgive another sinner? Just as our Merciful Father so often forgives us, we must be quick to forgive others as well.
Rather than holding someone’s actions against them, by judging them or refusing to forgive them, we must learn to respond to them with love. We must be merciful. We must lovingly forgive them. And sometimes, by following the example of the saints, we should lovingly explain and teach others why their actions may have been wrong.
Would you want Jesus to keep a list of all your wrongdoings and never give you the chance to reconcile yourself to Him? Of course not! Would you want Jesus to treat you differently or stop loving you because of a sin you committed? (Though it is obviously impossible for God to not love), of course not!
So, we should treat others who have done wrong the same way in which we want to be treated by God when we sin. If we measure out an abundance of love to others, God will measure out an outpouring of love onto us in return. Further, by responding to others with forgiveness, correction, mercy, and love, rather than judgment and resentment, they may learn from our example and desire to embrace the Lord more fully in their lives as well. So, don’t judge. Always forgive. Be merciful. And LOVE!
This is very important. I realized at some point that this is not just good advice for living--this is a promise. God will judge us the way we judge others. If I hold a grudge against my friend who has made some trivial error, Christ on the judgement seat will hold a grudge against me for *all of my most trivial errors*.
If we forgive readily and love deeply, Christ will forgive us just as readily, and love us even more deeply.
We should always be filled with a kind of Holy Horror of our sins, and fear of judgement--but if we want to give ourselves some reassurance, we must keep close to the sacraments, and practice forgiveness. If we find this hard--good: that means it's working!
Amen! We all need this reminder!!