One of the most concerning things of our time is the division of humanity. As if it’s not enough that we’re divided nationally, politically, and religiously, but even among Catholics there is division. Those who claim to be righteous at times leave a bad taste in our mouths with their words of harsh judgment. Don’t get me wrong; we are given minds with an ability to judge what is right, but we must do so with kindness. We are to judge the sin, not the sinner. Final Judgment of the sinner is the Lord’s job alone.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
A number of times, I’ve experienced what I think of as ‘unforgiving’ Christians. I see it among all people, but I’ll focus on Christians (Catholics and Protestants). They see the error in someone else’s ways and judge immediately. It’s one thing to point out a sin to one you love because you care about their soul, but it’s another to judge the person directly and condemn them over a small misdeed. These ‘unforgiving’ Christians have told me I was not receiving Salvation because I didn’t worship the Lord correctly, or that others would never see heaven because they used their hands incorrectly or attended an improper service.
While some may mean well, others are entirely dismissive and not even worth arguing with. I’ve come to think of this personality like a pharisee. They feel righteous and will tell you so and flaunt an attitude of judgment on others. It’s not very evangelical and I imagine they don’t build much Kingdom in their wake.
As with all things at this point in my life, I’ve turned this observance inward. I’m using this for introspection lately and I wonder how many times in my life I’ve been unforgiving or a pharisee. How have I judged instead of being kind and influencing for the better. Do I dismiss others who are wrong instead of gently correcting? Am I loving? Am I showing that I care about others’ souls?
It hurts the whole Kingdom-building process when Christians are the ones who turn others off from our faith, but we need to counter with kindness, love, and good examples. True, it’s not the most aggressive tactic, but it may well be the most effective. While some show an outward flourish of piety and worship in church, yet curse their neighbors in the streets, we should strive to live the Way of the Cross in every aspect of our lives. We know we will fail at times, but we must be forgiving of ourselves and of others in the hopes that Christ is as forgiving to us. “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Matthew 7:2)