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Monday in the Second Week in Lent. The reading is from Gospel of Luke 6:36-38.

Stop Judging Others – Luke 6:36-38

[Jesus said to his disciples:]

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.

Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.

For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.

Judging and condemning
Judging and condemning others is an easy task. We come to conclusions based on our observations and interactions with others.  Most of us label and define the people around us: “He’s an idiot”, “She’s a slut”, “He’s an oaf”, etc., etc.

But who are we to judge? What rights do we have to judge others.

This brings to my mind two sayings In Tamil:

  • “இன்னது மெய் இன்னது பொய் என்று யார் சொல்லலாம்?” (Transliteration: innathu mei, innathu poi endru yaar sollalaam?) meaning “Who can tell which is true and which is false?”
  • “கண்ணாலே காண்பதும் பொய், காதாலே கேட்பதும் பொய், தீர விசாரிப்பதே மெய்..” (Transliteration: kannalae kaanbathum poi, kaathaalae kaetpathum poi, theera visaaripathae mei.) meaning “the eye can lie, the ear can lie, best is to investige thoroughly.”

So, we must investigate thoroughly before passing judgement and condemning others, and learn to forgive those who anger us.

Forgiving
All of us have a right to our justified anger. Though psychologists tell us that “anger is a human emotion that is completely normal and generally healthy” doesn’t mean that we have the right to take that anger out on our loved ones, our friends, neighbours, or any other human being or living creature.

Forgiving is not a feeling; it involves using our will and intellect to forgive. We should not wait for the feeling to forgive come to us; because that may never happen. And if you find it difficult to forgive, then pray to God and ask Him for the grace to forgive.

Martin Luther King Jr., said, “First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love… Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Giving
Giving is both a spiritual value and a spiritual practice. All the major religions of the world teach their followers to give, to provide for the poor and the needy.

The pali word ‘dāna‘ and the Sanskrit word ‘Daan‘ mean giving or generosity. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it is also used to mean the practice of cultivating generosity.

For the Hindus there are five important points to keep in mind.

  1. Give with the heart not with the head.
  2. Give with Joy, not reluctantly.
  3. Give only that is useful to the other person, not rubbish.
  4. Give without expecting anything in return. There should be no give and take.
  5. Give with humility love and compassion, not with pride or arrogance .

For the Buddhists,

  • Giving (dāna) as a formal religious act has the effect of purifying and transforming the mind of the giver.
  • Generosity developed through giving leads to being reborn in happy states and the availability of material wealth. Conversely, lack of giving leads to unhappy states and poverty.
  • Giving without seeking anything in return leads to greater spiritual wealth. Moreover, it reduces the acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to continued dukkha (sorrow).

In Judaism, traditional Jews give at least ten percent of their income to charity and their homes commonly have a pushke, a box for routinely collecting coins for the poor and the needy. Jewish youths continually go door to door collecting cash and sundry for various worthy causes. A standard mourner’s prayer includes a statement that the mourner will make a donation to charity in memory of the deceased.

Zakat or alms-giving is the third pillar of the five pillars of Islam. It is the practice of charitable giving by the followers of prophet Muhammad based on accumulated wealth. It is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality. Zakat consists of spending 2.5% of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy. A Muslim rather than to achieve additional divine reward may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah).

As a Christian we have to listen to Jesus: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

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