We are meant to judge, but to judge fairly
Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
by Fr. Roy Cimagala
In spite of our first impression on Christ’s words that we should not judge, since he said, “Judge not that you may not be judged,” we have to make it clear that we are actually meant to judge, but to judge fairly.
We are meant to judge precisely because we have been given the capacity to know things, situations and people as well with our God-given powers of intelligence and will. The very act of knowing already involves some judgment. We cannot know anything unless we make some judgments.
But we need to realize that we should judge fairly. Somehow this point is implied when Christ said, “For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
In fact, in the gospel of St. John, we hear Christ saying: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.” (7,24) It’s clear that we have to be most careful in our judgments. We cannot be reckless about them, judging persons and things on the basis of instincts or feelings alone, or on some opinions, personal preferences, social trends, and even sophisticated theories and ideologies.
Such way of judging cannot capture the essential issues involved in a particular case. It will unavoidably get entangled with the non-essential elements. It will be at the mercy of the wiles of the flesh, the world and the devil himself.
We have to judge with Christ himself, and now in the Holy Spirit. With respect to this point, St. Paul had this to say: “He that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Cor 2,15) It is not pride to aspire to that ideal of being so spiritual to be able to judge all things.
Only in this way can we become persons of sound judgment. It’s an ideal whose importance, relevance and urgency are increasing these days, given the complicating conditions we are getting into.
That’s actually an understatement. We know that to be a prudent man or a person of sound judgment is essential to us, considering our nature and dignity, plus the growing scope of the responsibilities we are acquiring nowadays.
Not only do we have to contend with the multiplying pressures and conditionings on our personal, family and professional life. Not only do we have to grapple with the confusing ramifications of our social, economic and political life, sorting them out as best that we could.
With escalating insistence, we need to learn how to integrate the material with the spiritual dimension of our life, the here and now with the eternal and supernatural destiny meant for us.
We have to know how to live by faith, hope and charity, the essence of our supernatural life with God, in the middle of our daily activities and concerns, and in the pursuit of our temporal affairs, be it in business, politics, education, culture, sports, etc.
This necessity demands of us to be nothing less than persons of sound judgment. We have to overcome our tendency to be guided mainly by instincts, emotions, moods, fashions, and some sophisticated philosophies and ideologies that, while offering many good elements, actually lead us away from our proper end.
Let’s never dare to emit judgments that are mere products of our own making. We have to make them always in the presence of God and motivated by nothing other than love for God and for everybody else. We have to continually check on the rectitude of our intention, and the correctness and timeliness of our words and deeds.