Judgment versus Guidance

First Reading: 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15A, 18

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land
and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel
the king of Assyria took Samaria,
and deported the children of Israel to Assyria,
setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan,
and the cities of the Medes.

This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD,
their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt,
from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,
and because they venerated other gods.
They followed the rites of the nations
whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel
and the kings of Israel whom they set up.

And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah
by every prophet and seer,
“Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes,
in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers
and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,”
they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers,
who had not believed in the LORD, their God.
They rejected his statutes,
the covenant which he had made with their fathers,
and the warnings which he had given them, till,
in his great anger against Israel,
the LORD put them away out of his sight.
Only the tribe of Judah was left.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 60:3, 4-5, 12-13

R. (7b) Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses;
you have been angry; rally us!
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
You have rocked the country and split it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people feel hardships;
you have given us stupefying wine.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
Have not you, O God, rejected us,
so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies?
Give us aid against the foe,
for worthless is the help of men.
R. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.

Gospel: Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples:
“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.”


Want to know something funny? I wrote about this Gospel reading (Saint Luke’s version) last year for Blessed is She. And I don’t believe in coincidences; I believe in God-incidents—as my mom would say.

Last time I talked about praying for some of the most vicious people in the world: terrorists. After all, they are worthy of God’s love and mercy too. But, what does God want me to reflect on this time? Scripture is God’s divinely inspired word: there is always something else to glean from it at different points in our lives. So, surely there is always more to take from a single passage.

This time around, let’s look at the word “judgment.” Jesus makes it pretty clear that we should not be pointing out splinters while we possess wooden beams. But, there is an important distinction that many overlook. Judgment is not the same thing as guidance.

Judgment points out a person’s faults in order to feel better about our own lives. Judgment doesn’t seek the betterment of a person through love and encouragement. Judgment simply focuses on sin.

But we were made for more than that, weren’t we, ladies?

We were made to guide one another to Christ. Would I be able to sit here and chat Scripture with you if the prerequisite was that I had a clean slate? Ask my family if I am free from sin, I dare you. I don’t have to have a sinless life to discuss Jesus’ teachings because pointing out God’s commandments and messages isn’t about judgment. It’s about wanting the best for all of humanity. I want you to know about His word not because I think you are awful and in need of correction. I want you to know about His word because I love you and you deserve it.

[Tweet “We were made to guide one another to Christ.”]

Ask someone you love about what he or she is struggling with lately. Remind that person that you may not have the answers, but Jesus does.

photo credit

Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she blogs and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here

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