“Do not judge.” (Matthew 7:1)
“Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 10:31)
Jesus wants us to live in a place of dignity without fear or judgement.
Fear and judgement reinforce each other.
We fear being judged, and we judge what makes us afraid.
With painful intensity we often pinball between fear and judgement. The consequence is our own dysfunction and the dysfunction of society.
Falling into fear and judgement means being lost in a labyrinth. We can spend most of our lives trying to find our way out.
Jesus lives a different way. He trusts his Father. He carries himself with unfailing dignity.
As he walked the earth, in the midst of threats and injustice, he remained in possession of himself.
He did not judge and was not afraid. He acted always with courage and compassion.
He felt deeply and sensitively but was not overwhelmed.
He shows us how to live like him.
What does it mean not to judge or be afraid? To begin with, it means making a commitment to find real and practical alternatives to fear and judgement.
It means patiently learning to live like Jesus in the place that is courageously above the cringing of fear and humbly below the haughtiness of judgement. Neither too high nor too low.
I’m not saying we should be afraid of fear or judgemental of judgement.
Rather, I think as our hearts grow, we become able to see things more clearly, as they are, without getting upset. We become aware—in a kind and non-judgemental way—of the dynamics of fear and judgement. We come to understand them and start to transform them.
But what can we do when we are already overwhelmed? One thing we can always do is reach out directly to God.
God in his mercy restores us to ourselves. He leads us to the place of dignity where we belong.