Fifth Sunday of Lent: Don’t Judge Others, Just Love Yourself

Published March 13, 2016 by Unprodigal Daughter

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Judging others is a habit that all of us have as human beings. Even the holiest person you know has probably judged someone unfairly at some point in their lives.  One of the most well-known passages from Scriptures by Christians and non-Christians alike has to do with judging: “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” But that is not an unusual suggestion for Jesus. There are other places where he tells us not to judge.  Another well-known passage about judging can be found in the synoptic Gospels: “Judge not, that you may not be judged.” This was an important instruction that Jesus gave to us.

Jesus gives us multiple prescriptions to not judge others, and yet it is a sin we all commit over and over again without even thinking about it. We judge people for what they wear, how they vote, how intelligent they are, what they eat, and even things completely out of their control, like their physical attractiveness or their country of origin. So why do we judge others, in spite knowing it is something we are not supposed to do?

The answer lies in how we view ourselves. Like a gossiping teenager, we judge others to make ourselves feel better. For example, we may passively think to ourselves, “what is she WEARING?” because our next thought will probably  be “I look so much better than she does, everybody knows that.” We are looking for self-validation, but we are mistakenly burdening ourselves with masked self-doubt.

Jesus told us to love God and others, but we also must love ourselves. When we worry of what others think of us or whether or not we are worthy of others, we unfairly judge our peers so that we feel more important. But we do not have to do this, because our value comes in who we are, not what people think of us. Every human being has inherent dignity because we are made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore we are good. When we remember that about ourselves, we can appreciate the goodness in others. Once we put our judgment to an end, we are one step closer to learning to love one another as Jesus wants us to: with unconditionality. 

Opening Prayer

Father,

I lay down my self-imposed responsibility of judging the heart, motives, intentions, and actions of the people in my life. You have instructed me in this, and I will obey you. I remove the back-breaking burden of being the judge, and I repent of the pride in my life that is evident every time I have a critical, judgemental thought. You have commanded me to walk in forgiveness and love, to rise above offenses, and to walk humbly with you. I choose that road today. I submit my thoughts to you – each and every one – for approval, choosing loving thoughts and not condemning thoughts, compassionate thoughts not critical thoughts. And kindly remove the log in my eye. Thank you.

In Jesus’ Name and with the help of the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

(taken from: http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/prayerplainandsimple/2015/04/a-prayer-to-stop-judging.html#ixzz42nIeTmPA)

Daily Readings

Reading 1 IS 43:16-21

Thus says the LORD,
who opens a way in the sea
and a path in the mighty waters,
who leads out chariots and horsemen,
a powerful army,
till they lie prostrate together, never to rise,
snuffed out and quenched like a wick.
Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way,
in the wasteland, rivers.
Wild beasts honor me,
jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert
and rivers in the wasteland
for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself,
that they might announce my praise.

_
Responsorial Psalm PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.


Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

________________
Reading 2 PHIL 3:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
I consider everything as a loss
because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things
and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him,
not having any righteousness of my own based on the law
but that which comes through faith in Christ,
the righteousness from God,
depending on faith to know him and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death,
if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It is not that I have already taken hold of it
or have already attained perfect maturity,
but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it,
since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I for my part
do not consider myself to have taken possession.
Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind
but straining forward to what lies ahead,
I continue my pursuit toward the goal,
the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

_____________
Verse Before The Gospel JL 2:12-13

Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

_____________
Gospel JN 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

(taken from USCCB.org)

_____________________

Multimedia

Aside from Jesus’ instruction to us that we must not judge, it is also unhealthy to judge because we may be jumping to conclusions. For a lighthearted story about false judgment, watch this clip

Additional Activities

For this week’s activity, challenge yourself to avoid judging others. It is likely that you will mentally pass judgment many times, but the next time you catch yourself doing it, remedy the situation by immediately praying for the person you judged. After you pray for the other person, pray for yourself. Pray that you will learn to empathize with others and love yourself more so that you do not have any insecurities that may cause you to judge. Eventually, this prayerful habit will help you see why you are judging, and you will learn to judge others far less.

Closing Prayer

A Prayer for a Chronic Judger

Lord,
why is it that we humans
like to judge each other?

You know,
I make comments
on almost every aspect of life.
I comment

on the weather
on my neighbours
on my work colleagues
on my bosses
on our politicians.

And I listen
to the comments
of others
and often judge them
sometimes too harshly.

Lord,
I may not pull out
a base ball bat
but I know how to use words
that will bruise.
I am an expert in helping
other join in the abuse.

Forgive me, Lord,
When I don’t listen
When I think
I know more than I do
and I do more harm than I’ll ever know.

Help me to be patient
to consider my attitudes
my thoughts
my actions.

Help me to understand
your call to serve
without judging
those i am serving.

(taken from https://heartsonfire33.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/jesus-on-judging-others-a-prayer-by-one-who-judges/)

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