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Matthew 7:1-5

The Word of God

Jesus said to the crowds, "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye."

Matthew 7:1-5
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged”. We need this lesson every day of our lives!
    • Isn’t it true that often what most irritates us in others is often what most irritates us about ourselves? Do you ever catch yourself having to back down from an uncharitable comment, knowing that you are just as guilty!
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    • I can ask God to judge me favourably, and God does this. But in turn God wants me to look lovingly on others and to judge them favourably! We are to act toward others as God acts toward us. We are to enhance the dignity of others and never despise or rubbish them. It is said that we judge ourselves by our intentions but judge others only by their actions!
    • A few lines from the poet Patrick Kavanagh: ‘He had the knack of making men feel as small as they really were – which meant, as great as God had made them!’
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    • 'Who am I to judge?' must rank as one the best known phrases of Pope Francis. Perhaps that is because it touches a very sensitive point in our pluralistic cultures. How can we ever judge the behaviour of others? This can sometimes degenerate into a passive, uncaring attitude towards others: I will not judge you, for you are responsible for your own choices; now do not expect me to help you in any way, for I am not responsible for you at all. Jesus is saying something quite different: be careful not to judge others more harshly than you judge yourself, try to be free of prejudice for this can cloud your judgement.
    • 'First take the log out of your own eye'. I ask for light to be aware of my prejudices, and for strength to remove them. Most of all, I ask for compassion, towards myself and towards those whose opinions and behaviour I find difficult to accept.
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    • Arrogance can make us believe that we are morally superior to others and can act as judges over them. As Jesus' imagery suggests it is all too easy to see others' faults and remain blind to our own. Becoming obsessed with a small failing in another person can distract us from being aware of a much greater shortcoming in ourselves.
    • Pray for an enlightened self-knowledge and a non-judgmental attitude (generosity of spirit) towards others.
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    • His time at the woodworker’s bench had taught Jesus all about splinters! His time at prayer helped him to receive insight and truth. I take this time of prayer to stand back from my everyday concerns, to realise my need of forgiveness, to ask God’s help, to pray for God’s blessing on those around me.
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    • We can be quite blind to our own faults but be very alert to those of others. Human bias tends to favour ourselves and be prejudiced regarding others. It is easier to propose that the problem is not in me but out there. The truth is more often that the other person is a challenge to me, as otherwise why would I need to be critical? It can be challenging to admit the truth about myself.
    • Conversion begins at home, through seeing one’s agenda clearly and being honest about it. Little change is likely if the need for it is not admitted. We are to be forgiving, see the good in others and avoid comparison. Openness to God’s guidance is a prerequisite for a healthy approach to the situation.
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    • Lord, it is not easy always to think the best of other people, though I know I should. Newspaper headlines are pointing the finger of blame every day; they see the speck in every neighbour's eye, and urge me to judge, denounce and sue for damages. But I never know enough of the story to form a proper judgment on anyone. I would rather leave judgment to God, and try to be godlike in thinking well of my fellows.
    • They went off laughing a bit but knowing the teacher was right! A bit of humour about logs and specks made the point. They thought he really knew human nature, and they always thought that about him. The even asked each other what were the specks and the logs they noticed in each other. They listened and then they did something about it. Prayer – listening to Jesus – leads to action. By the fruits of prayer, we know that prayer is sincere.
    • Our minds can be active in judging others and our words may follow. It is part of being human to judge, and to condemn. These words of Jesus highlight that none of us perfect. Often what we criticise in others may be qualities we don't like in ourselves. Our relationship to God which we share with everyone can be a entry into the world of love where we know all, even those whom we find hard to relate to, are loved by God.
    • As I ask God to look upon me lovingly and to judge me favourably, I try to do the same for others. I pray for forgiveness and ask God’s help to be more forgiving myself.
    • The world is complex: sometimes it seems easier to turn away from it, to switch it all off. I remember that, even with all the information that is made available, not everything is known. I pray for all who are judged hastily or harshly. I pray for compassion.
    • I ask God’s Spirit to guide me in making good judgements.
    • The judgements we make of others use a particular vocabulary, look through a certain lens; the limited words and narrow vision that we use can prevent us from being open to broader realities. Jesus reminds us that if we measure others wrongly - or at all - we limit ourselves.
    • If I call to mind times when I have been judged unfairly, I ask God that I may do so with a sense of peace and calm, learning only how I might become more loving and tolerant in my attitudes to others.
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    • Matthew’s list of wisdom sayings: just take the line "Take the log out of your own eye" and concentrate on that. And ask: is this true for me?