In case anyone was in doubt about the meaning of the directive at the beginning of today’s gospel passage where Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your heavenly Father is merciful,” the rest of the short text (LK 6:36-38) sounds like a “call and response” chant that a teacher might use in school to define what s/he means. Teacher: “When I say ‘Stop judging,’ you say…” Students: “And you will not be judged.” Following are prompts to stop condemning, forgive, and give, with the overarching conclusion that “the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Even though that clearly sounds like “tit-for-tat” or giving to get, I never think of it that way, most likely because I continually see Jesus moving us toward more generosity. It is, however, quite clear – in a staccato sort of way – that we need to wake up to an inventory of our behaviors to see how we’re treating one another. I’m pretty good, I think, in the giving and forgiving arenas and I try never to condemn anyone because I rarely know the depth of anyone else’s heart. Judging, though, is just so easy to do! It seems to arise almost automatically sometimes. I think I’ll be working on that one until I take my last breath, but if I breathe out the last of my judgments at that moment, I guess I will have made the grade in God’s embrace.