For in the way you judge, you will be judged;
and by your standard of measure,
it will be measured to you."
—Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:1-2)
Dalton Roberts is a friend of a friend who writes a My Sunday Journal column for IPS features. In a recent column he wrote,
As a preacher’s kid, I saw a few genuine, spiritual people in each of the churches we attended. They were always those absorbed and immersed in their own spiritual practice. For every person like this, there were a dozen or more who were so busy judging others that they never grew an inch.
You may be thinking, “Well, you must have been judging yourself to come to such a conclusion. If you had been engrossed in your own spiritual work, you would not have been studying these people.”
You are right. I was a child. I hated going to church. From the first day I was forced to go until the last day, I hated every moment of it. It was decades after my forced attendance before I found any joy in church attendance. My first enjoyment came in a Baptist mission where they sang from those old Stamps-Baxter songbooks. I loved those songs like Looking For A City and Heaven’/s Jubilee. The second time I enjoyed it was a Quaker silent worship, the third was a Unity service and the fourth was a Christian Science lecture.
Part of the reason I noticed all the judgmentalism in churches I attended in my childhood years was because I was a child. Children are intense observers. When adults teach them things, they cannot be faulted for watching the adults to see if they practice what they preach.
The rhetoric (testimonies, sermons) was good but the living of it was clearly not good and even a child could see it. But in time I made a great discovery: I was so involved in judging the judgers that I was not getting anything from the services and my own private spiritual practices! I had adopted the very practiced I deplored in others.
Do not judge a fornicator if you are chaste,
for if you do, you too
are violating the law as much as he is.
For He who said thou shalt not fornicate
also said thou shalt not judge.
—from The Wisdom of the Desert,
(a collection of sayings of ancient Christian hermits)