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Judgment (and Grace)

“As the Gospel makes clear, with the statement do not judge Jesus had in mind making a judgment that caused one to cut oneself off from someone so that they ceased to be reached out to…Jesus himself did make judgments about where people stand,…but not in such a way that he ceased to continue to offer them God’s grace.” (NET Bible, Luke 6:37)

“Long before Christ was born of Mary in Bethlehem of Judah, the Prophet Solomon contrasted two opposing ways of life: “the paths of uprightness” and “the ways of darkness” (Prv 2:13). These two modes have existed from the dawn of history, when Cain and Abel brought sacrifices to the Lord, and “the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his sacrifices” (Gn 4:4-5). The bitter impulse to murder overtook Cain’s heart not because he was irreligious, but because he was darkened by jealousy and pride. We see the first hint of this flaw in Cain’s angry sorrow and fallen countenance (vs. 5). The Lord, in His long-suffering mercy, extends saving grace and counsel to Cain (vss. 6-7). Yet Cain continues to “walk in the ways of darkness” (Prv 2:13), until the sin lurking in his heart manifests itself in fratricide (Gn 4:8).” (Dynamis 10/5/2021)

“Jesus clearly knew that Judas felt no kindness or wise consideration for his master. He also knew that Judas was full of devilishly bitter poison, and even while [his feet were being washed by Jesus] he was devising the means to betray him. Nevertheless, Jesus honored him just as much as the rest of the disciples and washed his feet as well, continually exhibiting His own unique love…That Jesus put a thief [Judas Iscariot] in charge of the money shows that by every means He attempted to save Judas: He fulfilled Judas' lust for money; He allowed Judas to exercise apostolic authority…He washed Judas' feet with the other disciples…and He allowed him to partake at the table of the Mystical Supper…Yet Judas could never overcome his greed.” (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Orthodox Study Bible, John 12:3-8)

“There are two things we need to offer each other—one is encouragement…We need to learn how to give encouragement and we need to learn how to accept encouragement. And the second thing we need to offer each other is grace…When we give each other grace, to fill and complete the space between us, then I can be in the presence of God’s majesty, through another person even in my moments of despair, and the one who is filled with God will be patient during my moments of suffering and doubt, they will show up and not judge.” (Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis)

“…we believe that it is for God alone to judge willfulness or intent. We should not place ourselves on Christ’s seat of judgment, but should instead let our existential emptiness be filled not with anger or blame toward the person we loved, but by a faith in Christ, His grace and mercy, His Resurrection….If we were ever judgmental or hurtful toward another, prayer for them heals our enmity and produces in us the necessary humility to find salvation. It gives us the opportunity to witness our shared humanity — its fallenness but also its pristine beauty — and to bring about the internal change whose absence prevents us from attaining perfection. Giving God to others is the best way to give God to ourselves, for without God, we are like the “living dead.” (Presvytera Marilisse Mars, Fr. Stelyios Muksuris)


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