We all make judgements about other people when we comment, in negative ways, about their politics, narrow attitudes, limited world views, etc.; it’s just a part of being human to make observations that are actually judgements. When Christ teaches not to judge others, yet another painfully difficult teaching to follow, I think he is teaching us not to make judgments about the moral condition of a person’s soul. When someone makes a hateful statement, can I not make a judgement stating what is hateful... name the sin, so to speak? Of course, but I should go no further than that.
Maybe the Lord just doesn’t want us to limit a person by their hateful attitudes, label them, giving little room for change or transformation. But even more, Jesus doesn’t want us to get off the hook, so to speak. Making judgements about others, even if correct, can cause us to be so concerned about other people’s painful attitudes that we fail to see the huge blind spot in our own lives. In the words of Jesus, we love to notice the “splinters” in other people’s eyes but fail to see the “wooden beam” in our own. We, ourselves, have to acknowledge the wooden beams, the destructive attitudes, in our own hearts before making judgments about other people. And we all have them.
One of the saints once said that whatever negative attitudes you notice about other people, no problem, as long as you look into the mirror and discover that very same attitude in your own heart. “The measure you measure with will be measured right back to you,” the most important lesson to be learned and absorbed in today’s difficult gospel, reminds us to be humble in our negative assessments in others. We are no better, even if we don’t outwardly express our narrow minded thoughts and beliefs.
Even our thoughts, our inner attitudes spoken only in the quiet of our hearts, can be heard loud and clear by God.