“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
The thunder-like pounding of heavy, angry feet created the illusion in the office that morning as if an 18-wheeler carrying enough wood to build a city of log cabins was passing dangerously close at high speed. The other secretaries in the cubicle-laden area knew better, however. “She” was in another terrible mood and no one was going to get out alive, or at least, without needing a strong sedative, a bottle of Motrin, a deep skin massage or all of the above. Someone must have contradicted her, called her out on the condescending tones and thinly veiled insults, or finally just yelled back. But that’s all it took to unleash the Kraken and a new level of their hostile work environment that made a pack of hungry, feeding hyenas look like a quilting bee.
Unfortunately, the scenario is not rare and exists in various dimensions and situations wherever the darkness of compulsive, judgmentally-challenged people, usually in some tier of authority, is allowed to run loose and unchecked. The problem is multifold. If we start from the beginning, you know, when the dinosaurs died, etc., we will find the genesis of this quagmire, well, in Genesis! The blame game as it is played all around the world had its origins in that famous garden where there was too much finger-pointing to go around. And when the layers of this petty pastime were uncovered, it led to one source. What was it? How about a hint? It was crawling on its stomach. It should not surprise anyone the very first mention of evil and the demonic from the earliest texts we have, took a strange adjective: accuser. Accusing anyone of everything from taking your parking spot to poisoning your cat, takes on bizarre power and effects. The accused are always caught off guard, placed in humiliating and even a position of defensive weakness, always looking to explain and nearly in an uncomfortable, uneasy manner giving some to believe that the accusation is actually accurate.
This is the goal of the accuser. Knock us down, kick us while struggling to get up and then gaslight us to believe that maybe, just maybe, the blame has been rightfully and justifiably placed. At times, these struggles place us uncomfortably too close to shrew-like individuals that take all kinds of shapes and sizes. One example is the termagant who can surface at home, at work or even in high-profile positions of authority existing in nearly all professions. Termagants are always in a bad mood, whining and complaining, and generally making life miserable for everyone around them. Perhaps, we could also think that from time to time, we, too, may be counted among that number if we are not careful and practice self-awareness. Here is the problem and the justification for our Biblical reference above which warned against trying to pull out a splinter from another’s eye when we have a forest growing in our own.
You see, this is truly deep darkness of the soul that negatively impacts everyone who must face a highly, self-righteous and judgmental person. Hypocrisy, hateful speech, condescending attitudes, distort all perceptions and poison the heart like a noxious gas. To point all the faults of another while hiding behind a thin and tattered curtain of self-made perfection ignores the obvious. Modern-day Pharisees have to strain to see everyone they dislike because they imagine seeing the beams of weakness everywhere, whereas the only real beam is the one lodged in their own eye socket.
Among the many deep spiritual lessons that can be discovered during the virus pandemic and other life challenge is the call on all of us to valiantly struggle against this tendency to assume that our own worldview, often very limited, is the only unbiased, open minded and uncolored norm of judgment, that only we possess clear, unhampered sight. In other words, thinking and acting as if we are the “doctor” in the hospital of life and everybody else is the “patient.” This sickness, affecting the soul much like the actual COVID-19 weakens and destroys the lungs, can be cured only by putting on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ; by seeing my brothers and sisters through His eyes which always radiate love and forgiveness. You and I are called to beg every day to adopt and develop a healthy, realistic worldview where no one is better than anyone else and that forgiveness, if we truly want it at the end of our lives, must be practiced today and right now before yet another minute passes. Life, as it is, clearly remains as fragile as it has ever been noted. We will be able to live what we read in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “only then will you see clearly.”
Let us be open to change our view of the world, or at least, amend it a little. We are all patients and equally in need of help and cure. When seen through these patient, loving eyes, we will have a deep-seated change of heart and find life beautiful instead of heartless. And while there still may be pounding from time-to-time, it will not be the angry stampedes of the maladjusted and hateful. It will be His heart beating for you because that is who He is and that is why He came.Share your thoughts (19 thoughts)