“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.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)
What are you fasting from for Lent? Have you even thought about it? Forty days ain’t forty hours and it’s a long long road to Easter – not so?
Well I wasn’t sure what I would do this year but here is my story. One Sunday I went to Mass. There was going to be a baptism of a baby boy. His mom was very young; his godparents were very young. The mom (and her family) had grown up in the church but it appears as though her friends had not as demonstrated by their dress and behavior. I sat in my pew and judged them. Why hadn’t they dressed more respectfully? Why was it a problem to leave your cellphone in your bag at least until the end of the service? Why was it an issue to stand when the congregation was standing or kneel when they were kneeling? Why didn’t you know any better? My face looked like thunder and I literally sweated as I tried to last out the service without losing it.
Fast track to the following week. I was having some work done at home. Minor to my mind, major to the young entrepreneur I was trying to help out. He never kept to time. The job which was originally due to be completed in three days is still not finished two weeks later. My receipt is pending but at least I got an invoice (after much insistence). I held my head and judged him. Why didn’t he research what was really involved in doing good business in a professional manner? How could you not be in a position to generate and/or print invoices? Why did you think that coming on site ‘in the morning’ meant any time before 12 Noon (if I was lucky)? Why give out so many business cards when you were in reality not ready for business? Why did he not know any better?
It is easy to judge especially when you think you know better than the person you are judging. After all, I know how to dress when I come to church and how to behave. I know the basics of conducting business. I know a lot of things actually but I had to take a step back and realise that I could easily be any of the young people I was harshly judging. Thankfully and by God’s grace I had been exposed to people who were able to ‘train me in the way I should go’ whether it be family, church or career wise. I had to accept however that not everyone has the same opportunities in life, and if you have no positive guides then you are pretty much left on your own in most cases. Besides, I hate being judged so what gives me the right to judge others?
For Lent this year I am therefore fasting from judging others. I am fasting from the fastest phrase which comes to my mind and sometimes lips: “Wait, is he/she retarded? How could they think or do that? Seriously?” By extension I am fasting from anger and letting situations stress/frustrate me, intolerance and impatience. It’s going to be a truly tall order my friends especially since my brain to mouth filter malfunctions more and more with every hot flash. But what I do know is that with God’s help (and you can bet He and I have discussed this major life project) it shall be done. So wish me luck and check in on me from time to time as there are many many more days to go.
“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 7:3-5 (NIV)