The freedom to “judge not”

There is no teacher like that of the child.  Especially my own children.  For there are times they do something so crazy (to put it gently) that my heart flames with indignance, and I want to yell, “What were you thinking?!”  I want to call them names.  Names that they won’t forget.  I want to teach them a lesson, that they might think thrice before doing it again.  I want them to understand the depths of their folly.  And I want to be their judge.

Then, words that I don’t want to hear come to mind, in stark contrast to my anger.  “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And I am pricked.  I am reminded that I was once a child.  That I have done some pathetically stupid things in my lifetime.  (And still do.)  I am reminded that I am no different than them, and that I must come alongside them, just as my Savior, Jesus, has done to me.  (And still does.)  I am reminded to show mercy, just as I have been shown mercy.

And I begin to see, slowly, that to judge is not only to put myself in God’s place, but it is to put myself in bondage.  The bondage of forever trying to figure out the perfect recompense for the act, since there are endless opportunities to judge.  It is to be a slave to my own, imperfect law.

But to judge not is to be free.  Free to leave judgment in the hands of the only true and perfect Judge; to the One who sees with infinite clarity, into every situation and heart.  For when my heart is full of judgment, there is room for nothing else.  But when my heart is free from judgment, it can be filled to overflowing with the the mercy and love of Christ.  And only then am I able to come alongside my children, to show them mercy and love, as one who has received mercy and love, from the One whose law we have both transgressed.

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