My thoughts (Brenda Corbello):
This has been a real focus for me for this last couple of years. I have made a concerted attempt to learn to be less judgmental of others.
I heard this passage often in my Southern Baptist upbringing, and my experience was that most people definitely did not want you to judge them. But they seemed to be perfectly willing to judge you. Unfortunately, as a result of such behavior in the adults in my life, I grew up to be very judgmental of others. I am not proud of it, but I have to be honest.
What I have been trying to learn lately, is a way of interacting with other people that is much more understanding and empathetic. I know that the passage here seems to say that we should be this way to avoid being judged ourselves. I think there may be other reasons to be forgiving of others.
We read later in the chapter about not bargaining with God. Just ask for what you want. Be genuine. Do not just do good things to get something in return. If your heart is in the right place, you will have everything you need.
I have tried to focus on being less judgmental for many reasons. In my spiritual journey, I want to be the kind of person who exemplifies a very different kind of being. I want to be kind and empathetic because I genuinely care for people. I realize that we are all flawed, and most of us are just doing the best we can. I look at my children and I see such wonder and such hope. Why can I not seek to see the same in the eyes of the people around me? They were once someone’s child filled with awe and wonder.
What I have found is that when I am less judgmental, people are less defensive. We can learn how to live better together. We can all learn how to be more generous with each other. There is less fear. There is more love. I appreciate when people are gentle with me when I have made a mistake. Now I am learning that it also feels better to be gentle with them when they falter. My world is becoming a much kinder place to be.
Prayer for the day: God, help me to be less judgmental. Let me always remember that You know the heart of us all so much better than we know ourselves. If you can forgive, who am I to be judgmental?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.