March 18, 2019
“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 neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘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 neighbor's eye. …. “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:1-5,12 NRSV)
…. was the worst cuss word an old teacher used when I would offer a study-light answer to a classroom question. The word came to mind the other morning as I was waiting for my morning coffee to brew. I had been browsing the news and a picture of the chair of a parliamentary committee caught my eye. His name is Housefather. My frustration with his leadership expressed itself in plays on his name, including “Horsefeathers”. Some less appropriate.
Coffee in hand, I turned to my morning prayers, only to read Jesus’ words you see here. I had just finished judging a politician, mocking his name. I may be right in my assessment that he is a pawn or ineffectual, but he still deserves my respect as a human being.
We must exercise good judgement in many areas of life but when we move to dismissing the value of the other person we have moved to a different sort of judgement. A good Lenten practice would be to fast from the sort of judgement that is poisoning our public discourse – and I was guilty in the quiet of my morning prayers.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, in the quiet of a morning, it is some sort of miracle that we are connecting with the infinite love of our Creator and Redeemer. Let our prayers and our spiritual practices actually correct and empower our actions. May our prayer be practiced in doing to others as we would have them do to us…. For Jesus’ sake.