I have spent a lot of time with folks like these young women through camp, youth ministry and coaching, but I must confess their dialogue was even a bit shocking for me. Unfortunately, I immediately began to ponder how much judging others might be a part of our human condition. And yet I believe that the act of judging others is something we are clearly called to not only confess, but also strive to eradicate from our lives.
For me, amongst all of the challenging things that our Litany of Penitence calls us to confess, the following can hit home:
“For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us.”
Consistent with these words are the ones we hear from Jesus in the Gospels:
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while 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 neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
“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.” Luke 6:37-38
In the end, I am grateful for unavoidably overhearing those three young women. Recently reciting the Litany of Penitence and the season of Lent I am reminded of the work I need to do to stop judging others and to fully embrace what I commit to in the Baptismal Covenant to, “respect the dignity of every human being.”