"MERRY" (mer - ee) adjective:
full of cheerfulness; joyous in spirit; mirthful.
"CATHOLIC" (kath - lick) noun: a believer in Christ; the Church
founded by Jesus Christ in 33 A.D.
The Merry Catholic essay: May 22, 2013:
JUDGMENTAL HYPOCRITE IN THE MIRROR
Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I
can’t understand that bother me, it’s is the parts that I DO understand.”
Well, there is a very clear and understandable concept in the
Bible that has me worried. It’s the fact that God is going to judge us using the
same standard we use to judge others.
Jesus said, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the
measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”
All of us know someone who is quick to get angry, and who is
always criticizing other people. No matter what, this person is never satisfied,
constantly saying things like, “Hey, why’d you do it THAT way? It’s wrong! You
should know better. And I told you to be here at 10 o’clock. It’s now five after
ten. How dare you keep me waiting?!”
If God uses a particular person’s standard of judgment, can you
imagine what will happen when that person dies and stands before the Almighty?
God probably will say something like, “Hey, why’d you live your life THAT way?
It was wrong! You should’ve known better. And I told you to be here last
Thursday. It’s now Tuesday. How dare you keep me waiting?”
I suspect that will not be a very comfortable situation.
Now, please be honest. Is there any chance the judgmental person
you have in mind is the same person who looks out at you from the bathroom
mirror each morning? Just saying.
It’s a fact that human beings have an amazing capacity for
self-deception. We often have no clue we are holding others to an impossibly
high standard, while at the same time we are quick to excuse and justify any
mistakes we make. It’s called being hypocritical. And hypocrisy is one of those
traits we intensely dislike when we see it in others, but we’re oblivious when
it occurs in us.
In the Gospels, Jesus saved His harshest criticism for
hypocrites. He was actually very gentle and loving with blatant sinners, such as
drunkards, prostitutes, and New York Yankee fans. But Jesus pulled no punches
with hypocrites, people who acted righteous in public but were selfish weasels
in private—people such as the Scribes, the Pharisees, and members of the U.S.
Congress. He called them “a brood of vipers.” To be fair, when Congressmen are
compared to a bunch of poisonous snakes, that is an unwarranted insult—to the
Ugh. There I go again: judging politicians by one standard, and
judging myself by a much more lenient standard.
The amazing conclusion from the Bible is that God will judge
different people by different standards. Which means God grades on a curve.
Which means God is totally unfair.
On the other hand, I suppose we should be glad God is not fair.
Because if He gave us the perfect justice we deserve, well, we’d all be in big
trouble. That’s the whole point of the cross. God’s overwhelming love for us
caused Him to be totally unfair. He willingly paid the price for our sins, even
though we did nothing to earn that kind of forgiveness.
All we have to do to remain in God’s mercy is love Him, and love
our neighbors as ourselves. This means judging other people by the same lenient
standard we use to judge ourselves.
Just imagine if everyone did this. There would be no more angry
people in our lives, constantly criticizing everyone else. The next time you see
that angry person, say, “I forgive you.” You can do that tomorrow. In the
morning. In the mirror.
(Note: Listen to these "Merry Catholic" essays on WJMJ, the radio station of the
Archdiocese of Hartford, at 88.9 FM or by streaming audio at wjmj.org.)