There is something very natural and human for us to look to judge others… maybe it is a simplistic way for us to feel better, briefly, about ourselves. We can feel that we in a small way are more worthy than those we have judged or that we have made better choices than them. This may be a flawed approach to build ourselves up by putting others down.
In the Gospel account this week we hear of Jesus’ defence of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus had come to the Temple and was challenged to pass judgement on her and publicly condemn her. Instead of doing this He challenged them to look inside their hearts to see if they were without sin. Anyone without sin should throw the first stone of condemnation. Slowly one by one the stones were dropped as the crowd disappeared… Jesus went on to show compassion, love and forgiveness saying “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?… Neither do I condemn you… go away and do not sin any more.” In this He forgave unconditionally but challenged her to make a real change in her life.
This has a very real message for us in our relationships and the world we live in today. We need to resist the temptation to judge or condemn others. A key aspect of this is to ensure that we can see beyond the human failings that we all have and listen to God’s call for us to turn away from sin or selfishness in our lives.
If we can do this maybe we can look to heal broken relationships and build our happiness based on how well we live our lives rather than looking to compare ourselves to others. Our theme of the week of “Fresh Start” leads us to recognise that this new beginning is offered by God and we can do the same to those we meet in our lives each and every day.