Judgement – Lent Day 8

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 8: Almond French Toast

Day 8: Judgment
As we begin the second week of the Lenten Season we explore our emotions and the actions they produce. We begin this week by looking at the instruction pertaining to judgment given to us by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. We read Jesus’ words,
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others you will be judged. And with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. How can you say to your brother, let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7)
In this very short passage we find a very powerful message which is instructional for life. “Do not judge,” says Jesus. In that instruction we come to understand God’s vantage point. How does God view each of us as a collective, that is, as His children inhabiting this planet?
In the eyes of God there are no differences between people. There are no races to differentiate people. We are all His children. If you think about it for a moment, you would understand the saying that all wars are considered to be civil wars, in the eyes of God. We are all His children, therefore an assault on anyone is an assault on God’s creation.
Jesus says do not judge because on the playing field we are all equals.  There is no one to judge another. Jesus goes on to remind us that God makes the sun shine down on the good and the bad because He does not differentiate between the two.  Therefore, if God doesn’t differentiate between people, who are we to dare to presume that we are better than anyone else? That is why He says look first within, look at the damages you have in your own life, remove that so that clearly you can see the greater picture. After all, that is exactly the purpose of Lent! It’s time – 40 days – where we are looking to remove those planks from our eyes, so we can see the wonders in life. We are pulling back the curtain so that we can see the good of God’s creation all around us.  Wouldn’t it be beautiful to look into the eyes of another human being and see the reflection of God? What if we could look deep into the soul of another and truly see the presence of God? Do you want to get to that point? Well, first remove the plank from your own eye, so you can clearly see the wonders all around you.
Last week, we had an instruction on prayer. Jesus teaches us the “Our Father” We pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be they name…”  The one request that we make of our Heavenly Father in this prayer is that he forgive us our sins. How? By the same measure with which we forgive others.  We say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” In other words, by that same standard we will be judged. As we read today, Jesus says not to judge. Be careful! By the same standard we judge others, we will be judged.
Indeed, today’s lesson is a simple one, yet a difficult one to actualize. But that’s what Lent is about, simple yet difficult. Take this opportunity to look at your relationships, with loved ones, spouses, children and parents. Look at relationships you have with friends, coworkers, acquaintances and people that you would like to know. Look at the judgments you make and see how artificial they are. Look at your prejudices – pre-judgments – that you make every day. We all make judgments. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it just means we are human. But in that humanity, take a lesson from Jesus Christ. You can find love, and that love is no farther than the people all around you. Look at the difficulties – those “planks” – that distort our perception and prevent us from seeing the beauty that is all around us.
Judge not lest you be judged. Remove the plank out of your own eye… What you will find is that you won’t be able to see the speck in your brother’s eyes. Instead, you will only see the presence of God.
Let us pray the prayers of St. Nersess Shorhali:
 Righteous Judge, when You come in the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead, enter not into judgment with Your servant, but deliver me from the eternal fire, and make me worthy to hear the blissful call of the just to Your heavenly kingdom. Have mercy upon Your Creatures and upon me, a great sinner. (I confess with faith #22/24)
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