Sunday, April 10, 2011

In a Word: Judging Others

In a Word is a feature of Sky View which provides a short commentary or reflection on life, on a current event or a particular book.

People judge others based on who, or rather, what they are. If a politician, for instance, is accustomed to lying and cheating others for short term gain, then when there is a question of someone else’s motive or character he will frequently judge others as he sees himself. This goes for the unjust, narcissistic and bad people in general. Because they are guided only by their own lights and refuse to conform themselves to God's law- a higher standard outside of themselves -it is difficult for them to consider other ways of thinking. And so they project their own ways of thinking and doing unto others.

The gift of faith, on the other hand, trains the mind to see morality and the world from a perspective other than our own. After all, our Lord bids us to take the plank out of our own eye before we attempt to remove the speck out of our brother’s eye. This requires that we take a second look at ourselves; especially from someone else’s vantage point.

With that said, those who are innocent like doves can make the same mistake as people with tainted motives. Those with a well-formed conscience sometimes get into the habit of assigning pure and innocent motives to those who do not merit it. For these who are pure of heart, it is difficult to imagine that someone can deliberately do something we consider to be evil. Perhaps, this is why Jesus said, “Be as simple as doves and wise as serpents.” Simple in that we should do good deeds with honorable motives; wise in that we realize, often painfully, that many in world do not aspire to high moral standards.

The Saints often assumed the best in others and the worst in themselves. Yes, they assume the best in others...until proven otherwise. When evil or immorality can no longer be denied and when trust has been broken, they more than anyone, took strong measures deal with the evil at hand. They were wise as serpents in that they spared no sacrifice to eliminate and purge the evil in their midst (cf. I Corinthians 5:13). Three motives inpsired such moral habits: 1. Love for the sinner. 2. Love for those who would be harmed by the sin 3. And out of love for God and his good will.

Christ calls each of his followers to spiritual and moral vigilance. To think with him is to think big. And to think big brings us to the realization that human beings can achieve the heights of sanctity, and, sadly, they can fall to the depths of great evil.