Friday of Lent 4, April 5, 2019
“Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins. His mercy endures for ever.”
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
This week we have been exploring what seems like a downward spiral: neglect of prayers and worship leads to a weakening of our ability to commend the faith within us; blinding ourselves to the sufferings and needs of others and not caring about injustice or cruelty prevents us from taking these very concerns to God who cares deeply about alleviating suffering and meeting needs because God is just and loving. Today we continue this trajectory …
False judgments and uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors are the opposite of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Our culture which blames quickly and often, refuses to allow for repentance and growth, and refuses to admit mistakes. That makes it easy for us to harbor false judgments about others. Our ability to discern the motivation of others is incredibly flawed;-most of the time it’s hard even to discern our own full motivations. When we jump to judge before getting as much information as we can (which seems to be a growing social trend these days), we are even more likely to make a false judgment.
Uncharitable thoughts towards others is the ugly twin of false judgments. Typically, when we make mistakes in discerning the motivation of the actions or words of others, it’s because we are not giving that person the benefit of the doubt. We forget to think about the life circumstances that may have led to an out-of-character response.
When we judge falsely and think poorly of others, we are not treating them as we would want to be treated. Maybe more important, when we think unlovely things about someone, we are not treating them as God treats us and as God treats them. When we seek to serve Christ in the other, we are given the opportunity to step back, reassess our thoughts, and try to approach the person with love
Under what circumstances are you most likely to misjudge someone’s actions?
What typically causes you to have uncharitable thoughts about others?
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collect for Proper 25, The Sunday closest to October 26, BCP 235)