November 30, 2012

Be Our Guest / Elizabeth Mattingly

Jesus calls us to love one another, not to judge one another

When I first read the letter to the editor in the Nov. 16 issue of The Criterion, I was upset and angry that a fellow parishioner at St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg—who I do not know personally—would place judgment on so many. Then I realized that in being angry with him I was acting in much the same way.

Jesus called us to love one another, not to judge one another.

When I focus on what my neighbor is doing wrong, I am reinforcing those beliefs in my own mind and thus strengthening that position.

When I see the goodness in another, the “God within,” I am strengthening the holy. I choose to see all people as loved and forgiven. I choose to focus on the goodness.

I have not walked in my neighbor’s shoes or experienced his or her life so I cannot judge what he or she does.

When Jesus told us not to judge another, I don’t think it was because it was necessarily a “bad” thing to do, but a realization that rightly judging another cannot be done because we will never know that person’s journey, let alone his relationship with God or his conscience.

If we cannot love our neighbor who we know, how can we love God who we have not seen? I believe God asks us to trust him, not condemn and criticize his children.

As someone who has had to ask forgiveness and mercy from my neighbor and God then felt the joyful peace of receiving that mercy, I know it is offered to us all. I pray that I may always choose to offer that same love to all people.

Jesus told us not to worry about what everyone else was doing, but to “seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33). We will never agree how God’s kingdom is to be lived but, each of us in our hearts feel we are good and that we are doing our “best.” Let us live in the peace of Christ, obsessively searching for good to praise and not evil to condemn. Yes, it is a choice.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. Thérèse of Lisieux, “Love, in fact, is the vocation which includes all others; it’s a universe of its own, comprising all time and space–it’s eternal!” (#826)

(Elizabeth Mattingly is a member of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg.)

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