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Passing Judgment

“We are to preach and teach the message of divine judgment, then, not as an expression of God’s vindictive wrath, but as an expression of His saving love. Too often we pass judgment rather than proclaim it. Then the word of judgment degenerates into a word of condemnation. And more often than not, that condemnation expresses our own feelings, attitudes, anger and righteous indignation, rather than the true “wrath of God.” By preaching judgment upon another, rather than to another, we run the risk of bringing condemnation upon ourselves. To proclaim the Gospel faithfully requires that we preach not only God’s love and mercy, but also God’s righteous wrath, which is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness” (Rom 1:18). The crucial point is that we preach God’s wrath with love. As paradoxical as that may seem, it becomes possible when we center our proclamation about a truth transmitted to us by James the Just, the brother of our Lord. “Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy,” he warns; “yet mercy triumphs over judgment!” (Jas 2:13).” (Fr. John Breck)

“This sinful habit [judgment], born of pride, feeds and grows on pride—and in turn feeds pride and makes it grow. Every time we pass judgment, our pride grows a bit more because of the accompanying feelings of self-importance and self-gratification.” (Fr. Jack Sparks)

“Here and now, each day and each hour, in hardening our hearts toward others and in failing to respond to the opportunities we are given of helping them, we are already passing judgment on ourselves.” (Metropolitan Kallistos Ware)

“Judging others while comparing ourselves favorably to them reveals self-serving hypocrisy and a lack of love that threaten our own salvation….We cannot judge our fellow human beings, since we are all made in the image and likeness of God. The theologian’s knowledge of the faith makes him or her more susceptible to this sin since it is all too easy to fall into the trap of rendering judgment on another. If we know better than most what is correct or not correct, we ought to unflinchingly apply the standard to ourselves.” (Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou)

“…when something might be done with either good or bad motives, we should leave the judgment to God and not presume to judge the heart of someone else, which we do not see. But when it comes to things which obviously could not have been done with good and innocent intentions, it is not wrong if we pass judgment.” (St. Augustine)

#FrJohnBreck #FrJackSparks #MetropolitanKallistosWare #DrEugeniaScarvelisConstantinou #StAugustine

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