Judgment of Others vs. Forgiveness

Evil masquerading as good always has judgment behind it. 

Every act against another where the person committing the act feels okay about it happens because they have judged the other person as lacking and deserving of the punishment. 

Genocide.  Where one people judges another people as "less than" and undeserving of existence.
Murder. Where one person judges that another has less right to live than themselves.
Theft. Where one person judges they have the right to take something from them. 
Adultery. Where one person judges their spouse as "bad" and someone else as "good/desirable." 

Of course, that's on a grand scale, but see this on a smaller scale all the time. 

Racial slights.
Hateful words.
The silent treatment.

We judge and mete out punishment. 

For the Christian world, Easter was yesterday. (Orthodox Christians will celebrate on the 12th.)  The story of the Cross is one of judgment. The political and religious leaders of the day judged Jesus and sentenced him to be beaten and then to die on a cross (which was the electric chair or lethal injection of the day). Someone who healed people and taught people to love each other was killed because His words and actions violated their traditions. They judged their traditions to be higher than love. 

Interestingly, chapter 5 of the Gospel of John talks all about judgment. Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath (a violation of the rules) and the leaders plot to kill him because he told the man that he healed to pick up the mat he was lying on and walk. This other crime was to claim that God was his Father (blasphemy). I think sometimes we get this picture in our mind that the men who sentenced Jesus were like the bad guys in a Disney movie, but I don't think they were. I believe in their hearts they thought they were right. That they acted because they thought they were doing what was good, necessary and sanctioned by God. That's the thing with judgment. We act because we believe we have the right to. 

Later in the chapter, Jesus says "The Father judges no one but has entrusted all judgment to the Son." 

And how does Jesus judge? Well, when he was hanging on the cross suffering, he cried out about his persecutors, "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." 

Forgiveness is a hard teaching.  We want scales and balances not only on a global scale, but also on a personal one. Plus, we are terrified about what might happen if we release our right to judgment.  We don't want to be like Jesus hanging on a cross. As long as we are the one meting out punishment then we are not the one being punished.  

In our dualistic pursuit of being right rather than being wrong, we completely miss that when Jesus died on the cross it changed the game of judgment and created an economy of grace. Nothing to be earned. All the work was done. Forgiveness is the footprint of resurrection. Healing of our souls as we forgive others and as we get invited into this life of peace, love and healing. 

Religion gets a lot of bad press, but people walking in the Spirit never do. Why? Because they aren't looking for any.  They are quietly loving, caring, healing and forgiving forever changing the landscape where they work and live. I think it is why Jesus often talks about the kingdom of heaven as something hidden. There is no fanfare.  Just resurrection slipping from person to person as it changes the world. 

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall