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The Most Unpopular Commandment

confessionOf all Jesus commandments, there is one that is more unpopular than any other. It’s the one commandment where I’ve heard people say that Jesus didn’t really mean what he said. I’ve even heard more excuses for this sin than for sins of the flesh.

What is this commandment? It is the commandment not to judge others. 

Yes, rash judgement of others is a sin. The saints frequently speak of its sinfulness, as does scripture. (If you don’t believe me, I have compiled a small library of verses and quotes at the end of this post to prove it.)

We often forget about it or ignore it in favor of other more “scandalous” sins, but it is a sin nonetheless.

But what about actions?

The most common defense I hear in favor of judging others is, “We can’t judge hearts, but we can judge actions.” That is true. But the problem is, fallen human nature is such that it is almost impossible to separate the two. No sooner have we said, “Joe is living with his girlfriend,” than we begin to think explicitly or implicitly, “Joe is a sinner, and a worse one than I am!” The moment we begin judging the actions of others, we fall into the trap of saying like the Pharisee, “I thank you God that I am not as other men are.”

Is this possible to avoid? Perhaps. But why would you try? Judging the hearts and motives of others is the sin of pride, and it wounds our own souls grievously.

The truth is, the human heart is a complicated thing. There are many people who do the right thing for the wrong reasons, and many who do the wrong things for the right reasons. The fact is, God alone knows what is in our hearts and why we do what we do. He alone can truly judge righteously. That’s why Jesus warned against judging according to appearances (John 7:24)—because appearances can often deceive.

Additionally, no one sins in a vacuum. There are many circumstances and wounds of the heart that often cause us to make sinful choices. Think of the young boy who joins a gang. It is easy to judge him an evil-hearted criminal. But think for a moment about the circumstances that lead him to that point. Perhaps he was raised in a family with no father, to a mother who was a drug addicted prostitute. Maybe he never experienced love from anyone, even once. Perhaps he was beaten and abused. Yet he still longs for family. He gets to know a man who is strong and tough, but who cares about him and is interested in him. Yes, this man is part of a gang, but this young boy sees this gang as more of a family that looks out for each other than as a criminal organization. He wants to belong, he wants to be initiated into a family. And so he starts down a path that leads him to a life of crime.

Is he responsible? In some way, yes, he is. But who’s to say you would have done any different in his circumstances? We see only an evil criminal, taking no account of the brokenness that lead him to that path. We have so little mercy.

The truth is, we deep down believe that we are better than other people, and we are constantly on the lookout for proof of this fact. When we see others sin, we gloat or shake our heads in disappointment. “What a sad sinner they are, I’m so glad I’m not a sinner like that.” It is pharisaic pride, plain and simple.

There is a spiritual law that says that we will receive in exactly the measure we give (Matthew 7:2-3). So if we judge harshly, we can expect the same harsh judgment from God, but if we judge mercifully, we can expect the same mercy from God.

So what’s the alternative?

The alternative is to be hard on yourself, while giving others the benefit of the doubt. It is to believe the best about others, despite appearances, while acknowledging like St. Paul that we ourselves are the chief of sinners. Many saints counsel us to do this, and they tell us the more we learn about our own hearts, the less we will desire to pass judgement on others. “Whatever we see our neighbor do,” says St. Francis de Sales, “we must strive to interpret it in the best manner possible.” That’s what we desire for ourselves, isn’t it? For people to give us the benefit of the doubt.

If you must judge someone, judge yourself, for yours is the only heart you can really know. The only reason we judge others so harshly is that we know ourselves so little. I assure you, the more you learn about the layers of sin in your own life, the more you will recoil in horror from ever judging your brother.

An Important Clarification

Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking that I am saying we should never speak out against sin, or that I am advocating some relativistic, amoral worldview. That is not what I am saying. Sin is sin. When there are corporate sins plaguing the Church or society, sins that endanger other’s souls, we should speak out about them. When heresy was running rampant in the Church, the saints didn’t sit back quietly in the name of withholding judgment, but rather fought the heresy with charity and zeal. There are times when righteous judgement is needed. But judging a sin corporately speaking is different than judging the heart of your brother and condemning him.

It is also important to note that we can encourage those who are living in objectively sinful states to repentance. To do so is a spiritual work of mercy. Even then, we must speak as a sinner to a sinner, not judging motives, but only sinful actions, approaching the other as would a doctor and not a judge. We should be careful not to turn this admonishment into an opportunity for thinking better of ourselves, but rather acknowledging our need for God’s mercy as well.

Scripture and the voice of the saints are clear: Judging the hearts of others is indeed a sin. It is a sin of pride that does grievous damage to our own souls. We must look to the sin in our own hearts first and foremost, rooting out patiently the beam in our eye. And once we begin to do so, we will find that we quickly forget about the speck in our brother’s.

Verses and Quotes

Verses
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

“He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.” James 4:11

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Matthew 7:2-3

“Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors.” James 5:9

Quotes

Notes: This is just a sampling. There are many other similar quotes from other great saints.

“A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge.” – Abba Xanthias, Desert Father

“Fire and water do not mix, neither can you mix judgment of others with the desire to repent. If a man commits a sin before you at the very moment of his death, pass no judgment, because the judgment of God is hidden from men. It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open but have done greater deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes.” – St. John Climacus

“Believe that others are better than you in the depths of their soul, although outwardly you may appear better than they.” – St. Augustine

“If you see your neighbor in sin, don’t look only at this, but also think about what he has done or does that is good, and infrequently trying this in general, while not partially judging, you will find that he is better than you.” – St. Basil the Great

“Those who look well after their own consciences rarely fall into the sin of judging others.” – St. Francis de Sales

“Support and excuse your neighbor with great generosity of heart.” – St. Francs de Sales

“Do not criticize! To speak only of the faults of others does not represent total reality, for every man, in addition to his faults, also has virtues, a good side.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe

“Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“Let us be slow to judge. — Each one sees things from his own point of view, as his mind, with all its limitations, tells him, and through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion. Of what little worth are the judgments of men! Don’t judge without sifting your judgment in prayer.” – St. Josemaria Escriva

“Let us especially resolve not to judge others, not to doubt their good will, to drown evil in an abundance of good, sowing loyal friendship, justice and peace all around us.” – St. Josemaria Escriva

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Sam Guzman

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41 People Replies to “The Most Unpopular Commandment”

  1. Karl Pavlik

    This bring great peace to my heart at this time. There a few men in my Knights of Columbus Council that are accusing me of not being a good Catholic gentleman and one is leading a charge to have me removed. I and God knows what they are saying is not true. I’m praying that God will forgive them and continue to give me the strength to not lash out at them. I wish they all could see this before they judge me.

  2. Fortunately or Unfortunately…To Think is to Judge.

  3. Sam, thank you for this much-needed message. We all need a reminder of this from time to time. I wish I read this 3 years ago, but if I had I would have probably dismissed it…so I guess I’m glad I didn’t. There are several men and women in my life that I care deeply for and prayer daily for their conversion. Early on in my faith journey from a la carte Catholic to true Catholic, I was quite judgemental. I thought everyone needed to be perfectly aware of The Truth and every situation was the right situation to do so. I burned many bridges and damaged many relationships that way. Because I couldn’t see clearly and because I was a grave sinner myself which clouded their view of the truth I was trying to speak. I am still a sinner, but I can see clearer today and what I’ve found is that “Truth” is found more in what we experience and less in what we hear. When I can put myself in a fellow brother’s shoes and truly walk with them in their sin and show them what Christ’s love really looks like, they come to see the truth in the way I live and love and eventually, through the power of the Holy Spirit there will be a moment where they are ready to listen and TRULY HEAR THE TRUTH. Because prior to that moment, they can’t hear the truth, they aren’t ready for it, and they certainly aren’t ready to hear it from you because you haven’t walked in their shoes yet. In many ways, our job as Catholic men and women in today’s society is to show the rest of the world that their understanding of Catholicism is wrong. I don’t know of a single soul who has a proper understanding of the Catholic faith AND has chosen to reject it (I know they exist, but I don’t know them), but I know many many many who have an improper understanding, often because of the sins committed against them falsely in the name of Christ by loved ones. We must show them the truth by the way we live, and then and only then, when they are ready to listen, speak the truth inspired by the Holy Spirit that we prepared for during the weeks, months, or years that we walked with them leading up to that point. How many of us have truly given our lives for the salvation of our brothers and sisters, sacrificed everything for their sake (I mean everything), and at the end they still chose the path of darkness? I can only speak for myself when I say, “I don’t know because I haven’t yet cared enough about someone’s salvation to make that sacrifice”. I hope that one day, God will succeed in using me for the conversion of a single soul for that is what we were put here for. God bless

  4. Eric Feezor

    This is a beautiful article. Very much spot-on. Thank you Mr. Guzman

  5. Eric

    Let us not argue semantics. As the Word of God tells us (True) Love never fails. Do we believe this? If so, then let us spend less time criticizing (in thought, word, or deed) our fellow Christians (Catholics included of course!) and let judgement be the sole domain of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember the 4 last things–Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell.

    Are any of these actions to be performed by us? Can you even imagine that? I hope not. Does this mean that we are not to spread the Good News of the Gospel? By no means! The Beatitudes, Corporal Works of Mercy, Spiritual Works of Mercy, and The Ten Commandments direct how we are to conduct ourselves in our dealings with our brethren (yes, even the least of Our Lord’s brethren).

    Instruction–POSSIBLY, if we are worthy and Blessed to do so–judgment–never.

    Eric

  6. Bryan

    I disagree with the TITLE of this post. I would argue the most unpopular commandment is “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you.”

    The only one I think that comes remotely close to this is “Love the lord your God with all your heart…”

    People claim they love God, but they neglect Sunday Mass. They claim they love God, but only give time or treasure to the Church from their surplus (and really only after they’ve bought a second home or some other luxury good). They claim to love God, but don’t make the effort to pray. And of course, as already mentioned, they love God so much they adamantly refuse to share their faith in any way, shape or form.

    Judging (or not judging) are symptoms of this lack of love for God. We judge others so we feel better about our pathetic relationship with God. We refuse to judge others because we love God so little we don’t want to risk comfort in sharing our faith. If we aren’t judging properly (starting with honest assessment of ourselves), we aren’t sharing the faith. We aren’t loving God with our whole hearts. Our lives then bear false witness against ourselves.

  7. Eric

    As The Word of God tells us, the Church will prevail over all evil. Do we really believe and trust that this will occur? The Church does not depend on you or me for Her ultimate Triumph. Can you even imagine, us, fallible and fallen as we all are, being entrusted with this task? I hope not.

    When Our Lord Jesus Christ says ” Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” and ” Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” and ” Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. What do you suppose He means?

    Does He mean that we are not to defend our Faith, our loved ones, or society’s innocents when a grave threat presents itself to them? Of course not! We have a DUTY to defend these–to our death, if necessary!

    However, we must prayerfully discern, very carefully, each and every such situation that presents itself to us so as not to be drawn in by motives other than love.

  8. Mark

    @William, Great response. Accurate and unpopular. So be it.

    Today, saying “who am I to judge” is radical chic and very cool.
    But really, it is a cover for cowardice, an excuse not to speak up. Live and let live and damn the consequences.
    There is a great consequence which we and our children will not avoid here, in this life.
    It is the Islamic heresy. Get ready to judge the Islamists and what they represent. You will have three choices…convert, Dhiminitude or die. Judging from what I see from the current Vatican, Dhiminitude on the horizon for your children.
    Is Christianity a religion of cowards? Hmmmm.

  9. Eric

    Amen Sam. Thank you. Keep up the inspired posts

  10. Hi there.

    I am not sure I agree with this: “while acknowledging like St. Paul that we ourselves are the chief of sinners.”

    St. Paul acknowledged that he HAD BEEN the chief of sinners before his conversion, not that he currently remained so. He said in 1 Timothy 13: “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.”

    We are all sinners who stand condemned but for the grace and mercy of God. That’s why we all need God’s mercy just like St. Paul. But once the Holy Spirit is living in us, it should be the “normal” state of affairs for believing Catholics to be able to avoid mortal sin. Of course we can only achieve that by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us – and not on our own.

    I think it is important for Catholics to believe and to know that they can and should be able to lead basically holy lives. We should no longer be “slaves” to sin. If we are constantly committing or repeating grave sins then there is a problem because mortal sin kills God’s grace in our hearts, separates us from him and places us in danger of going to hell.

    Therefore, it would not be genuine for us to say that I we remain the “chief of sinners” even after our conversion and as we are walking in God’s grace. That would make us children of the devil rather than children of God. See 1 JN 3:4:10 below (referring to mortal sin).

    Avoiding Sin. 4 Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him. 7 Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot sin because he is begotten by God. 10 In this way, the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain; no one who fails to act in righteousness belongs to God, nor anyone who does not love his brother.

    Peace.

    1. Sam Guzman

      @Don, Your points are fair. Trevsliw responded well. I will simply add that St. Paul did say in 1 Timothy 1:15, “A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I AM the chief.”

    2. I don’t think Mr Guzman here is saying that to be a “chief of sinners” one must be mortally sinning. From Chapter X of the Little Flowers, here are St Francis’ words when a friar asks why people are following Francis:

      “Wouldst know why after me? wouldst know why after me? why all the world follows after me? This have I from those eyes of the most high God, which in every place behold the good and the wicked: because those most holy eyes have not seen among sinners any more vile, or more insufficient, or a greater sinner than I am; and since to do that marvellous work which He meaneth to do, He hath not found a viler creature upon earth; therefore hath He chosen me to confound the nobility and the pride and the strength and the beauty and wisdom of the world, to the end that it may know that every virtue and every good thing is of Him and not of the creature, and that no one may be able to glory in His sight; but whosoever shall glory, let him glory in the Lord, to whom is all honour and glory for ever.”

      Calling oneself the vilest of sinners is not necessarily an act of false humility but comes from a deep awareness of the gravity of even the slightest offense compared to the holiness of God. It can become a problem when not coupled with the understanding of the “ocean of mercy” (cf. St Faustina) that is God’s love for us when repentant, but that doesn’t change the terribleness of each and every sin we commit. While a all consuming fear of Hell as our only motivation for avoiding sin is unhealthy, a certain amount of fear of being before our Lord certainly is healthy. In putting all my confidence in the Blessed Virgin as the Queen of my life and soul I can know that she will intercede for me to her Son but that doesn’t mean that I cannot consider myself a terrible father. It is recognizing and repenting of all my failings as a father that will allow Mary’s intercession to be effective.

  11. Eric

    Dear all,

    Please read again closely Sam’s inspired post. When we label people as: good, bad, conservative, liberal, our (my) fallen nature immediately pigeonholes them. May I humbly suggest that we never “cast the first stone” even if it is in our hearts, minds, or speech.

    Yes, we admonish and correct sinners, but we do so at our own peril.

    May Our Lord keep us humble and small!

    Eric

  12. Beauty Above All

    Really good post! But I think today, people are moved in the opposite direction of ignoring sin as William so aptly put. While the whole article is very good for the spiritual life, I did find one flaw. You ended like this “We must look to the sin in our own hearts first and foremost, rooting out patiently the beam in our eye. And once we begin to do so, we will find that we quickly forget about the speck in our brother’s.”
    Now, that is not really what Our Lord had said. We are not supposed to ‘forget’ about the speck in our brother’s eye. Our Lord rather advises that, once we root out the beam from our eyes, then we can take out the speck from our brother’s. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:5)

    I would like to know your comment on this.

  13. Well said, Sam. Your article is a timely reminder when confronted when sin in others to always speak the truth, but also always remember “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

  14. I find it’s better if most Catholics just mind their own souls.

  15. A while ago my wife write down a quote from Flannery O’Connor for our bulletin board that works here: “Find explanations in charity.”

  16. margaret olszewski

    I think proclaiming the faith is important. I think that making the invitation is our call. We need to know the invitation to this new life Christ is offering us. I find the greatest mystery to be God’s timing. My own conversion came so many years ago. People had proclaimed the good news to me and yet I lived the way I wanted to. God came and opened my eyes. All that was proclaimed became important. Without that gift from God I couldn’t no matter what get it. This is a mystery. Then came my poverty no matter what I couldn’t live completely sin free. That was scary. As I learned more about my faith my fear faded away. Judging people and witnessing to them are so different. I want to always be ready to explain the hope in my heart and who I say Jesus is to me. If they ask me why I believe in chastity for all of us homosexual or heterosexual I need to know why this is Good News what kind of life God is offering all of us. So sin is there but there is something better that we are being offered. When I get to share this Good News is also part of God’s timing. Proclaiming what I believe comes at the strangest times; sometimes I know someone so long and it doesn’t come up and other times they don’t know me yet this is what we talk about first. Mystery. Loving serving duty of the moment to even my worst enemy the most anti-catholic person ever and proclaiming when the Holy Spirit leads me witnessing not judging. I was the “gentile” and I was the “tax collector” from the Bible for a long time until that moment of grace.

  17. William nailed it. No need to add anything further.

  18. Thank you Sam for a thoughtful posting on a complex, sensitive and even volatile topic. I have lived this teaching for 20 years and wrote a book, The Non-Judgmental Christian, in 2004 about my experiences. Many readers have experience major healing as have I. We worry so much about “endorsing” sin while missing out on the blessing we can receive within ourselves if we would simply pull that stubborn plank out of our eye. I wrote another book in 2013 on Mt 7:5 called The First Rule of Inner Peace. Peace is the reward we receive when we take time, TEMPORARILY to not judge the person(s) offending us. Then we see clearly by the Spirit what to do. At that moment, we are then capable of making a ‘right judgment’ as Jesus admonished in John 7:24. Blessings to you for your good work and for the respectful commenters too. In his peace, John Kuypers

  19. Ramanie

    Thank you Sam Guzman, for this wonderful post. So very true and so very merciful. God bless you and your family.

  20. Francois

    It’s important in our Church that we should hear about judging more and tell others their sins because Catholics stopped doing that and being strong. I know we have to judge the right way, but like William said, we need to stand up and use our capacity of judging for God’s sake and tell others when they are in sin ! The worst sin I think in our culture today and your article is not helping Sam, is that we do a lot of grave sins by omission because we shut our mouth by fear or just because “we should not judge”. I’ll pray for you Sam… I don’t condemn you at all saying this, but I judge that your article is not helping the situation in the Church where we don’t even hear anymore about doctrine in churches… What we always hear is what liberals are saying “Judge not” when God gave us the capacity of judging, but of course we have to judge the right way.

  21. Frank

    Very well said William, Sam you should definitely listen to William ! Because your article really seems written by a liberal… I understand some of your point, but it almost like you twist the meaning of judging and you almost say we should never judge when Jesus what He meant by that is only not to condemn others but of course we need to judge the right way.

    1. The usage of the term “liberal” in your reply is telling I think to the point of this article. In Mr Guzman’s example of a “thug” or “gangbanger” the labelling of a person in such a situation is unhelpful in admonishing him. Likewise, essentially anonymous posts on Facebook using mockery to illustrate a point about gender dysphoria or homosexual sexuality is likewise unhelpful. The Holy Father talks of bishops smelling like sheep. To be effective in admonishing the sinner, one generally needs to have some sort of relationship with that dinner as Mr Guzman says (cf: sinner to sinner). All of the Epistles were written to specific communities established and well known to the authors. St. Paul isn’t just randomly spouting off about certain sins, nor did Christ. He smelled of drunkards to draw them out of their sinfulness. Sending a PM to someone over Twitter or Facebook (or better yet, trying to actually talk to said person IN person) is in my worthless opinion the better route. It allows less for creating a situation where we can then hold someone up publicly as a greater sinner than oneself (even if it may be true).

      I do not think Mr Guzman’s article came off as wishy-washy at all.

  22. Fletch B

    Good post, but I agree with William above. There is a difference between judging and condemning. Only God can condemn, but I don’t think we can just say nothing and leave a person in their sins, risking that person’s immortal soul. People often quote Matthew 7 – “judge not, lest you be judged”, but they do not read down any further. The whole section reads –


    “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s[a] eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor,[b] ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s[c] eye

    This seems to indicate at some point (when you can see clearly enough, or are free from son yourself) that you judge in some way. Also, Jesus himself said in Matthew 18 –


    “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. ~ Matthew 18:15-17

    That sure sounds like judging to me.

  23. Joe Hanneman

    I will print this out. I see myself in what you have written. This is a much-needed reminder for us all. Very well-written!

  24. Teddy Condo

    Great post and great comments. All very thoughtful, as well as thought provoking. Reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Imitation of Christ: …accuse yourself and excuse your neighbor…Now if only I could remember that line whenever I open my big mouth! Haha! Have a great day and God bless! Love this website. Keep up the good work, Sam.

  25. Judgment is a good– but a very dangerous good. Superficial? Hypocritical? False? Harsh? Final? Bad. Hell-bad. [ http://www.gotquestions.org/do-not-judge.html ]

    I would argue that St. Paul taught the Galatians (6:1-3) how to go about judging “correctly” (John 7:24) — “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Mercy.. gentleness.. temptation… burdens… = humility and love.

    These days, you’re not supposed to “judge” anyone on spiritual or sexual matters, but yet you’re encouraged to wildly fling about the harshest and most superficial judgments on offenders against political correctness, the spirit of the age, and current political/social/ cultural orthodoxies, and matters over which people of good will may freely disagree. That is, the age which shrinks most from the recognition that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, and yet God saved us while we were yet sinners, has become a most judgmental, merciless, hypocritical, superficial, false, harsh, and condemnatorily judgmental time.

    Ironic, no?

  26. Andrew Markich

    Very well stated William . As Catholics we need to stand up to the demonic. This culture in the west is eroding faster and faster. How long will God be patient ? These are mortal sins that we see and must ” instruct the ignorant ” for that is charity , that we love others so they do not condemn themselves to hell. For faith without works is dead. In this case charity is dead without works. “Charity depends on faith, because without faith in God we obviously cannot love God, nor can we love our fellow man for God’s sake.” – this from
    Scott P Richert

  27. Would you mind if I used this line (The truth is, we deep down believe that we are better than other people, and we are constantly on the lookout for proof of this fact. When we see others sin, we gloat or shake our heads in disappointment. “What a sad sinner they are, I’m so glad I’m not a sinner like that.” It is pharisaic pride, plain and simple.) in my sermon for this weekend? I would definitely give credit. Thanks.

    1. Sam Guzman

      Yes, Fr. John, feel free to do so.

  28. William

    In today’s culture the problem isn’t people judging each other, as much as it is poorly formed consciences no longer recognizing sin, or its gravity. Few 20 somethings would comment about a boyfriend living with a girlfriend, as it is the norm. The “don’t judge” culture has silenced the truth, by confusing the very definition of judgement. Judgement is not when you recognize an action as a sin and speak the truth in love, but in today’s culture they would have you believe it is. Yesterday a lead story in the news was about someone who posted a meme of two pieces of garlic bread to represent the two genders. The man posting the meme has been called judgemental, a bigot and transphobic for saying there are only two genders. Society has twisted the meaning of “judging” to the point where Christians have been effectively silenced as our culture moves further from God. The spiritual work of mercy “admonish the sinner” has been nearly abandoned, as few have the courage to speak the truth for fear of being called “judgemental”, “bigot” or “homophobic”. In the meantime more and more of our fellow Christians are being chained to sin and in danger of losing their souls. Sad that their needs to be a concerted effort to understand how Satan has twisted words and their true meanings to confuse and silence even the most well intentioned Christians. If a train was coming down the tracks, you would yell to your friend to get out of the way, lest he loose his life. Yet how many friends are on the tracks to hell, chained to the train of homosexuality, porn, promiscuity, transgender bisexual sins, hookups, etc., etc., etc., But today you’d be assaulted and told to stop judging people who want to be on the tracks, mind your own business, if he’s happy who cares, and of course the ever popular, who are you to decide he can’t end his life on his terms. Too many Christians when called to speak up for God, respond with Pope Francis’s words, “who am I to judge.” The prophets of old, the disciples, John the Baptist, said no such thing as they knew the importance of speaking the truth, calling sin a sin, so that people had time to repent before loosing their souls. If only today’s Christain could be told what judging actually is, and what it isn’t instead of being bombarded with reasons not to do it, we could be brave enough to stand up to a culture heading away from God, and save souls in the process.

    1. William, what do you think most people are thinking when they sin? Do they imagine themselves doing something good or something bad? What are their intentions?

      1. I can’t answer for William, but I think there’s a lot of sins that people commit that they know are that, but that they dismiss them as sinful as our current society essentially believes that there is no such thing as sin, and all vices are simply defined individually based upon our character.

        Enough of the old morals remain in common knowledge that a vague retention of morality remains, but it runs strongly counter, particularly in regards to certain sins, to a cultural argument that you should be committing those same acts.

        So that leaves us in the uncomfortable moral position of fully knowing what is sinful, and what we do when we are surrounded by a society that doesn’t fully know the same. Sort of, I guess, like St. Paul found himself in.

    2. Steve Kirk

      Very well said, William. My thoughts exactly. Sam do you have any comment on what William said? The confusion is a big deal here and is the reason why I continue to be confused on this topic.

      1. I have to agree with Steve on what he notes. While I don’t think that this counters what you wrote, Sam, I think the bigger danger in our day and age might not be judging the transgressions of others so much as figuring that an entire class of sins are not transgressions at all.


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