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Dave Brisbin

Judging Not

When Jesus says do not judge so you won’t be judged, that your way of judging will be used on you, we modern Westerners hear that in predictable ways.

First, we think of judging in the sense of condemning or criticizing others, and we think of it punitively—that if we do wrong (judge), someone (God) will wrong us back as punishment. We also imagine our punishment happening sometime in the future, most likely after death. But thinking like this misses the essential point Jesus is making.

The reality we believe is the reality we endure.

Understanding that we live in a thought-world of our own creation is key to a life of meaning, purpose, and sense of identity. Unconscious beliefs programmed into us from earliest childhood form the way we think, our “judgment” of reality. As Jesus says, if our “eye” (way of seeing in Aramaic) is clear (not coloring reality) then we are full of light (harmony and clarity) but if not, we are “judged” by our own way of seeing. It all happens simultaneously. The limitations set by the whole of our belief system are already imposed on us before we ever try to impose them on anyone/thing else.

God isn’t judging us at some point in the future as retribution for our judgments now. We are doing it to ourselves unawares. Our judgments define our reality, which if our eye is not clear, can be a personal hell. Jesus is doing some cognitive behavioral therapy with us, helping us become aware of our judgments—thoughts and behavior—how they affect our experience and relationships, and how to begin clearing our eyes to see what is true.

When Jesus says do not worry or judge, he is pointing us to the symptoms of our belief systems. The judgments we make on others, conditions, and moments, are the consequence of unresolved fears that are really judging us, creating a world separated from the only place we’ll ever know the truth…that love, not fear, is the basis of life. Fear causes us to chase the horizons of past and future as substitute for meaning, but this moment right herenow is the only place we’ll ever meet the truth of God’s presence.

If we’re judging it, we’re not here. Not now.


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