Judgment Diminishes Our Humanity

Judgment Diminishes Our Humanity!

“Jesus said, “What is God’s Kingdom like? What shall we compare it with? It’s like a mustard seed that someone took and placed in his garden. It grew, and became a tree, and the birds of the sky made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19 (The Kingdom New Testament, A Contemporary Translation. N.T.Wright).

    We hear so much anger and judgment today. The internet, the newspaper, and our lives are full of it.

    I hear it from the different groups of people I mix with. I get blasted from all sides for my ministry, and for the way, I live my life. And I want to blast back, and when I do, my humanity is diminished.

    I was called to the hospital one night, a number of years ago, to give the final rites. As I approached the bed it was the man who had murdered my son. And as a priest, there was no exception to what my calling compelled me to do. As I prayed over him and anointed, he looked into my eyes with so much fear, so much pain, and in those moments, forgiveness came, and judgment ceased.

    Recently a good friend told me: “You and your beliefs differ from that of everyone I know.”  In essence, what my friend was saying is that all of us differ. Look at all the Christian denominations.

    So I withhold judgment, it is kept within myself, and I listen and respect their beliefs and opinions, and when I judge, my humanity is diminished. This is my journey, one that I struggle with every moment of the day. And the words of Fr. Henri Nouwen ride with me and each of us on this journey:

The Burden of Judgment

“Imagine having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone’s behavior. Imagine that you could say: “I am judging no one!”
Imagine — wouldn’t that be true inner freedom? . . . But we can only let go of the heavy burden of judging others when we don’t mind carrying the light burden of being judged!
Can we free ourselves from the need to judge others? Yes, by claiming for ourselves the truth that we are the Beloved Daughters and Sons of God. As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to the need to put people and things in their “right” place. To the degree that we embrace the truth that our identity is not rooted in our success, power, or popularity, we can let go of our need to judge. “Do not judge and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get” (Matthew 7:1).
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Fr. River Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.Servant Bishop of the Society of Franciscan Workers, Inc.P.O. Box 642656San Francisco, CA 94164http://www.temenos.org415-305-2124Snap chat: riodamien2

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