Which is more of your challenge—struggling with being judgmental of others or struggling with concern about how other people are judging you?
Either end of the spectrum is a place where we can get distracted from the things that matter most.
1 Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
God has given us, as individuals, great responsibilities to take care of (or steward) ourselves (made in the image of God), relationships with others (where we encounter Christ particularly in “the least of these”), the world in which we live. God wants us to be found trustworthy. Jesus has several teachings about how the slaves or the workers ought to tend to the charges given to them. Our job is not to evaluate how well or how poorly our neighbor is doing with this charge. Our job is to keep our eyes on our own paper and do our work faithfully. The only real charge Jesus gave us regarding our neighbor was to love him or her—and Jesus has a pretty expansive definition of neighbor.
God has given us, as the church—the body of Christ, great responsibilities to care for the same sorts of things we do as individuals only writ large. Beyond that we are called to care for God’s mysteries. The Sacraments and the Word are part of this important charge. Our job is to keep our eyes on our own holy writings and work faithfully. Of course we should reach out to our neighbors (writ large) in love with attention to Jesus’ expansive definition of neighbor. But our task is to faithfully do that to which God has called us. We don’t need to worry about judging others. We need not fear their judgment.
The good news is that God’s judgment has been forever changed because of Jesus’ work on the cross. In baptism we are connected into that good news. “Today you will be with me in Paradise” is something that echoes in our ears too.
God has work for us to do. Shedding judgment and fear of judgment will free us up to be better stewards of the tasks to which God has called us.
You are freed and loved and forgiven. Stand in that place as you kneel to serve this day.
God, help us always to love neighbor and serve faithfully. Teach us to be better stewards of your mysteries. Drive us to the cross and equip us to love. Amen.