Saturday, April 5, 2008

27. Don't judge anyone for anything.

Good morning! Here is Lauren:

I feel at a loss for words as I read this maxim. What can I say about a rule I violate all the time? Perhaps this is why we say the Prayer of St. Ephraim every day, pleading for God to allow us to see our own sins, and as a consequence, to not judge our brother. I think it's interesting that we first ask of God for spiritual insight into the state of our own soul before our neighbor even comes into the picture. Like the parable of the speck in your friend's eye and the log in your own, if we truly look in the mirror at ourselves, it will be impossible for us to comment on the lives of others. Not that I don't try, sadly; I am all too skilled at seeing the faults of others. When reading this, I'm also reminded of God's mysterious timing in life, and His personal interactions with each person. Only God and the person knows where they are spiritually, and it may not be the place you think it is. St. John Climacus describes a scene where he chastises a monk for very sinful behavior, but found out later that the monk had already had a heartfelt repentance for his deed. From the outside, the monk appeared to be a wretched sinner, but on the inside he was made new. I should remember this story more often, since not a day goes by that I'm not judging, commenting on, complaining about, being irritated at, or labeling those around me. And who knows God's plan for people and situations? Certainly not me. Whatever it is that causes us to want to judge another, we should remember that we are faced with this situation so that God can teach us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and so that we can learn a little something new about ourselves and God in the process.


Carla said...

Wow. I am very moved by your thoughts, Lauren. Thank you.

Mimi said...

Lauren, Great thoughts. Sadly, this is my totaly huge besetting sin. Sigh.

Ina said...

Your comments were so helpful Lauren and rang very true for me too. At one time I was not really aware of the level of my judging till two things happened. One was my reading that it was 'judging' even when I came into a room and didn't like the color it was painted...I was judging the person who chose to paint it that color... Whoa! Huge indictment for me. I have opinions about everything. And as a photographer I really notice color combinations etc. So now at least I am likely to be aware when I am 'judging' someone else's color or design choices...small step for a judgaholic.
The second thing that happened to make me aware of the level of my horrible habit was doing daily confession each night by asking God to run a tape in my head of the day "bringing to my remembrance those things that separated me from You and from my fellow man in this day". Wow! Talk about "bad footage"...starring forms of my judgment front and center. Ironically, I usually hadn't noticed the judgment when it was happening. However, over time I have discovered that after seeing many of these bad daily 'films' they are beginning to have a preemptive effect. Now I often notice the judgment right when it happens and can repent immediately...small progress, and I still don't catch them all on the spot and have to see it that night in my confession...but there is hope!

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.