The Hypocrisy of Judging

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mat 7:1-5)

Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. … But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Rom 2:1-4)

I know this guy who is fairly concerned with his pursuit of material wealth and comfort. I have invited him a few times to come with me to feed the poor, even on my dime, which he has consistently declined to do. I was listening to him today condemn homosexuals and express a willingness to suppress the equal rights they enjoy here in Canada. He cited Christianity and biblical teachings as the basis for his condemnation of this group of people, and the justification for the oppression he wishes to see take place. He immediately followed up his rant by lighting a huge cannon of a joint and getting high.

My heart pounded as I stood there listening to him and then watching him get high. I wanted to throw his hypocrisy, and his inability to see it, in his face. I judged him and condemned him inside. I caught myself getting emotional and chose a different route. I exercised detachment and uninvolvement. I yielded to the way that things were and just observed.

I realize now that in initially judging him, I was being him. I was condemning the way someone (him) was, based on my own subjective perceptions and values. I judged him for doing to someone else what I was now doing to him! I labeled him and his behavior as wrong and focused on it, instead of remaining aloof and unobtrusive.

I cannot point out the harm in it when others judge and then continue to do it myself- even when I’m ‘just’/’justly’ judging those who are already condemning others.

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