Be always merciful and not judgmental

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

That’s what Christ told his disciples. (cfr. Lk 6,36-38) “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.”

This does not mean that we are not meant to make some judgments and some condemnation. We are actually designed by God himself to judge things because that is how we begin to know. Together with those judgments is the possibility of some condemnation, since we really need to reject what we know is truly wrong and evil.

We just have to realize that our judgments and condemnations can never be final, since only God can do that. And that’s because only God knows everything thoroughly, while our knowledge of things, the basis for our judgments and possible condemnations, can only go so far.

In other words, while we try to be as clear as black and white in our worldview, we should never forget that there are many grey areas also that we need to handle with utmost care, delicacy, and discernment. And because of that, we have to withhold our final judgments.

This is indeed a most tricky thing to carry out, because while we have to make judgments, we have to know also up to where our judgments can go. And we are told by Christ himself that given this condition of ours we should just have to be merciful the way God in Christ showed mercy to all of us.

And how was Christ merciful to all of us? First of all, being the son of God, he emptied himself to become man. That way, he already adapted himself to our wounded, sinful condition. He identified himself with us so that we would have a way to identify ourselves with him. He preached the truth about God and about ourselves.

He gave preferential attention to the sick, that is, the sinners. He was always ready to forgive, his mercy and compassion having no limits—“not only seven times, but seventy times seven times,” he said. (Mt 18,22) He taught about loving the enemy and lived it. He did not mind all the insults and mockeries that were poured on him just to accomplish his mission of saving us.

And in the end, he assumed all our sins without committing sin by dying on the cross. In that way, he dealt death to all our sins, and with his resurrection he offered us a way for our own salvation and reconciliation with our Father God. He was thoroughly magnanimous.

This is the ideal we should try our best, with God’s grace, to aim at. This, of course, will be a lifelong, let alone overwhelming, effort and process. But it can be done. And it would be good if we can start it as soon as we can. God waits for us to learn this virtue. And to be sure, he provides us with all that is needed in this regard.

On our part, we have to exert the effort to widen our heart so as to resemble it with the merciful heart of Christ. Every day, we have to practice to detach our heart from the clutches of our own likes and dislikes, the very earth-and-flesh-bound condition of our physical, emotional and intellectual dynamics, so that it can conform itself to the universal heart of Christ, full of mercy and compassion.

We have to be wary of the danger of being pharisaical in our judgments.

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