In his homily on yesterday’s Gospel, John’s account of the woman caught in adultery, Fr. Dan Griffith spent some time talking about judgment. Not Judgment Day, not God’s judgement of us, but our judgments of each other.
He distinguished between false judgment and authentic judgment. Often we engage in the former. Judgment that arises from pride, from our putting ourself in place of God. Judgment that is motivated less by concern for the other person than with elevating ourselves and minimizing (or demonizing) the other. And it tends to distance us from the object of our judgment, to cast them aside.
Authentic judgement is the product of prayer and arises, not from pride, but out of compassion. It’s is intended for the good of the person being judged. It unites rather thans separates us.
I think we are all guilty of false judgment, some of us more than others. It is, after all, so easy to judge each other. And I think Fr. Dan was correct in saying that our false judgment often is a product of pride; you can almost feel yourself physically separated from whoever it is we are judging when we engage in false judgment.
Fr. Dan’s sermon invites me to pray for humility and to pray, not to avoid judging, but to let my judgments be authentic, always motivated by compassion and the good of the other. I suspect I will fail in that more than I like. (Any other hi “J”s on the Myers-Briggs out there?) But it is a worthy aspiration.