Judging Each Other

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.


4 thoughts on “Judging Each Other

  1. Too many among us have been relegated, by others and more often by self, to places deemed ‘not measuring up, lesser than, etc. . .’ and quickly shut down emotionally when hearing most anything with judgement (false or authentic) attached to it – the ‘compassion’ part often buried under a tsumani of disturbing emotions – the intended concern, message or critique sadly heard, though seldom listened to.

    If twice the time, or more, was invested in simple conversation, investing in relationships (whether casual or lasting) the person toward whom another may have been compelled to offer judgement will more likely themselves come to a more comfortable place and be willing to reveal the character or behavior seen that ‘they’ too wish to change, eliminate, or. . .

    ‘Beginnings’ authentic more likely lead to the best endings. . .

  2. ENFJ for me, so gotta work on the “J.”

    Re the gospel, Bishop Sullivan’s opening homily line was, “So where’s the man? This woman wasn’t committing adultery by herself.”

  3. As I recently listened to Krista Tippett’s interview with Greg Boyle, SJ, who has worked with gangs in LA for 25+ years, I was struck by his focus on compassion and the importance of moving away from judgment.

    Paraphrasing a bit; ‘if God is compassionate, loving kindness….imitate the God you believe in….move away from what is tiny spirited, judgmental to become as spacious as you can be.’

    ‘…a movement toward awe and away from judgment… to a compassion that can stand in awe of what people have to carry instead of judgment of how they carry it.’ This last phrase called me up short and is helping me, an INTJ, repent more than just a bit.

    Below is a link to her site. I heartily recommend the unedited interview.


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