37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
Today’s wisdom from Nouwen is entitled “compassion demands solidarity” and is from The Way Of The Heart. He says we should stop judging and evaluating our neighbours so that we should be free to be compassionate to them.
I struggle with this – a bit. I don’t generally – I may judge hypocrites and bigots, but mostly because of their lack of compassion. But I am thinking of this in a work context – what if I am being paid to assess whether someone is any good, which may have consequences for their career? Is arguing that suggesting people move sideways into a different role showing compassionate fairness – or is it judging and making them, perhaps, Somebody Else’s Problem? I can see that there is something I perhaps need to think and pray more on going on here.
Today’s bible reading starts with the same thought – but ends with a good reminder. If we are judgemental to people, we can expect them to be judgemental back. Perhaps this is where I am with hypocrites? Am I genuinely upset that they are judging in a one-sided way? Or am I, myself, making unwarranted assumptions about what they think and why without letting themselves explain themselves? Would I happily be judged through eachand every mechanism I’ve designed to judge others?
Today’s prayer helped me more – asking for help to overcome harshness with the heart of compassion; to look for the good in everyone. Which leads us neatly onto today’s action – who do we dislike? Can I find at least one of them not to dislike? One to ponder – I’ve got a little list, as Ko-Ko from The Mikado would say. Can I find it in my heart not to dislike on of them? Some of them? All of them?
Lord, let me be more understanding. Let me see the why to every what; understand the who; and teach me the how to connect and see those I dislike as different but not distasteful.