Pope Francis gestures as he speaks during the opening of the Diocese of Rome's annual pastoral conference at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome June 16. CNS photo/Courtesy of Tony Gentile, Reuters

Look in the mirror before judging others

By  Vatican Radio
  • June 20, 2016

Before judging others we should look first in the mirror to see how we, ourselves, appear. That’s what Pope Francis said at Monday morning’s Mass at the Santa Marta guesthouse in the Vatican. In his last Mass with a Homily there ahead of the summer break, the pontiff pointed out that what distinguishes God's judgment from ours is not “omnipotence” but “mercy.”

Judgment belongs to God alone, so if we do not want to be judged, we should not judge others says Pope Francis. Focusing on the day’s Gospel, the Pope said “all of us want the Lord “to look upon us with kindness” on Judgment Day and that He “will forget the many bad things we have done in life."

Jesus calls us hypocrites when we are judgmental

Therefore, if "you judge others constantly,” he warned, “with the same measure you shall be judged." The Lord, he said, therefore asks us to look in the mirror:

"Look in the mirror, but not to put on makeup to hide the wrinkles. No, no, no, that's not the advice! Look in the mirror to look at yourself as you are. 'Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye and do not notice the log that is in your own eye?' Or, how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' while the log is still in your eye? And how does the Lord look at us then, when we do this? One word: 'hypocrite.’ First take the log out of your eye, and then you shall see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye'.”

Pray for others instead of judging them

We see that the Lord gets "a little 'get angry here," said the Pope. He calls us hypocrites when we put ourselves "in God’s place." This, he added, is what the serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to do: "If you eat this, you'll be like Him." They, he stressed, "wanted to take the place of God":
"For this, being judgmental is very ugly. Judgment belongs only to God, to Him alone!” the Pope exclaimed. It is for us to “love,” to “understand, to pray for others when we see things that are not good” said the Pope, inviting us to talk kindly to others so that they may learn from their mistakes: “But never judge. Never. And this is hypocrisy, if we judge."

Our judgment lacks mercy; only God can judge

When we judge others, he continued, "we put ourselves in the place of God", but "our judgment is poor judgment;" it can never "be true judgment."

But “can’t our judgment be like the Lord’s?” wondered the Pope. “Because God is Almighty and we are not? " No, Francis answers, “because our judgment is lacking mercy. And when God judges, He judges with mercy:"

"Let us think today about what the Lord says to us: Do not judge, lest you be judged; the measure… by which we judge will be the same that will be used for us; and, third, let us look in the mirror before judging. 'But this fellow does this ... that fellow does that...' 'But, wait a minute ...' I look in the mirror and then think. On the contrary, I'll be a hypocrite if I put myself in the place of God and, also, my judgement is poor judgment.” Human judgement lacks the mercy of the Lord’s judgment, Pope Francis concluded, “May the Lord make us understand these things."

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