Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Day Eleven of Lent: Monday of the Second Week of Lent – Luke 6
Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven -Lk 6:37.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
The instructions from today’s Gospel may seem simple in theory, but they are in fact difficult to carry out in practice – especially in our ‘judge first ask questions later’ culture. Judgment seems to be today’s mantra: “Be like me (or understandable to me) or else…”. Unfortunately, that attitude is often adopted by us church-going folk as well. Being a believer does not make us immune to the penchant for judging and condemning others. In fact, the enemy tries even harder to get the faithful to fall in this area. The chasm between “traditional” and “progressive” seems to be widening as we slowly drift into modernism, losing sight of the one thing – the main Person – in whom we believe and have been strictly instructed by.
Jesus does not mince words when it comes to what He expects of us. With Him, there is no gray area. If you do not want to be judged by Him, do not judge others; if you want to be forgiven, forgive that person you have been carrying a grudge against. When we focus on our own relationship with God and living the way He demands of us rather than worrying about how others are living their lives, we will not only begin to soften but God will be able to draw near us and bless us. Humility must be the virtue we strive to strengthen because it is in humility that everything else with and for God is possible. Always remember: We cannot and will not receive from God what we ourselves are unwilling to give to others.
Day 11 Lenten Meditation
The place to start is right where we are with the people closest to us – our family members, co-workers, in our own parishes and neighborhoods. Ask yourself, who do you need to forgive today? Is there anyone you have been a harsh critic of? It could be something as simple or as difficult as forgiving a friend or relative for something that happened years ago; or perhaps biting your tongue the next time you’re tempted to join in on office gossip. In certain circumstances, these steps may seem slightly insignificant today, but this is where it begins. It always begins by choosing the right thing, the Godly thing, in each and every moment of every day. If you do, before you know it, God will be choosing you.
Father of mercy, forgive us for the times we have failed to forgive others or act according to Your will. Help us today to lay down any and all grudges that we may be carrying and to understand that we cannot be forgiven unless we are willing to forgive others. Most merciful Father, soften our hearts so that we are able to not only hear Your Word but obey it. Above all, help us to seek after Your own heart, seek Your ways, and remain faithful to Your will. It is in Your good and holy Name that we pray. Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Do some extraordinary act of kindness to someone who would not expect it from you. Be mindful of any judgement of another person, and forgive anyone who needs it – even if only in your heart.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has first forgiven the inexcusable in you” –C.S. Lewis.