Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37Telling words from Jesus. Here's a question: When does judgement start? Does it start when we describe someone as difficult or when we share a negative story about them? What about when we make assumptions about someone? Can we actually avoid judging and condemning others that easily?
I guess the best defence against falling into the trap of judging and condemning lies in the principle of forgiveness. But it's still not an easy thing to do.
I wonder if it isn't our propensity for criticism that makes living out these challenging words of Jesus more difficult. We're happiest when we're moaning about something. The problem with moaning is that it never offers solutions, only descriptions of the problems. That leads to judgement being pronounced and maybe even responsibility being abdicated. In other words we find a reason to blame someone else, blame them and absolve ourselves.
Perhaps forgiveness allows us to say that things must change and to seek solutions for change to take place. It doesn't mean things can stay the same and the pattern can repeat itself because forgiveness wipes out the wrong. There are still consequences to sin. But it shifts the focus