Luke 6: 37-38
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 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.
Consider: Freedom from the need to judge others is a joyous experience of liberation.
Frederick Douglas, when recounting his escape from slavery in Maryland, describes his feeling upon arriving in Philadelphia as a free man:
A new world had opened upon me … I felt as one might feel upon escape from a den of hungry lions … Anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.
Jesus describes a similar kind of joyful liberation. And the joy he describes becomes available from a valuable tool in becoming wise: learn not to judge other people. And discover the great gift of forgiveness.
Strong Incentives: Not judging and forgiveness seem like standard, well-known aspects of the Christian faith. Yet, sadly our practice of both is less common than most of us would like to admit. But what an incentive! The kind of joy Jesus describes, “pressed down (for dry goods), shaken together (for soft goods), and running over (for liquids)” conjures an image of glad abundance, of more than we can handle, yet ours still to enjoy.
Such is the power of forgiveness offered to others. Similarly, the liberation that comes with viewing the world and those around us with openness and flexibility is so liberating, it can feel like Frederick Douglas and the view of an entire world suddenly opened before us. New, beautiful vistas and bold colors of bright freedom become available in a way that defies adequate description.
As you continue on your journey of wisdom, of seeking new and better ways of experiencing God’s creation and being with those around us, may your ability to forgive expand, and may your desire to judge others decrease. And as a result, may your liberation to this new world of freedom Jesus describes become a new experiment of joy.
PRAY: Lord, liberate me from the wasteful time and energy of judging others. Increase my ability to offer more grace; and let me celebrate the freedom that comes with forgiveness.