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Author Topic: A sincere question about "Judging"  (Read 1536 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: April 05, 2008, 02:35:17 PM »

Hey y'all,

 Here's a burning question that truly needs some attention. 

No one likes to be judged, esp by our peers.  Even an implied or percieved judgement ruffles feathers.  On the other hand, St. Paul teaches that on certain occasions, we're to admonish fellow believers (in love of course) when they're behaving in ways that are hurful.  To my limited understanding, this seems to imply that we are to point it out when a brother/sister needs it.  It's a truly difficult and unpleasant thing to even think about; how can I admonish anyone knowing full well that I probably make the same mistakes?  I mean, who among us is perfect and yet we're supposed to make a judgement call about a fellow brother/sister?  How can I not judge, and yet make a judgement call? Thoughts?

In Christ,

Gabriel
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livefreeordie
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2008, 03:03:07 PM »

Judgement obviously has a lot of meanings.  I used my judgement to write the previous sentence but it was addressed to no one and is completely innocent.  Judgement as far as, "don't judge your brother" always primarily meant to me, don't judge their soul(i.e. judge the sin, not the sinner) and also make sure you aren't ignoring your own sin in pointing out theirs.  The worst sinner could be greater than me in the eyes of God, and as Orthodox Christians we believe that repentence wipes away all sins, so who am I to judge the state of their soul.  This is what I try not to do, and when I do it, I do ask forgiveness for it.

Now judgement is also used like, "I think you are wrong and here is why", or "I think these are your intentions", while I might be wrong in my judgement, I don't think it is necessarily wrong to do if done out of honesty and good faith and love for your brother. I know my words have not always seemed to contain love, and for that I apologize and ask forgiveness.  Sometimes it's hard to draw the line between objectiveness and emotions and that I think is where the difficulty usually lies. 

And as unbelievable as it may sound to some, in the world I usually just keep my mouth shut when debates like this arise!  Out in the world we can see each other's actions and actions ultimately speak louder than words.  That's what I love most about visiting monasteries, their is little talk, but much action in following the faith and you can see the inspiring result of prayer, fasting, alms, and following the Church's services. But all we have here are words, so I probably say more than I should.

Great question Gabriel!


Hey y'all,

 Here's a burning question that truly needs some attention. 

No one likes to be judged, esp by our peers.  Even an implied or percieved judgement ruffles feathers.  On the other hand, St. Paul teaches that on certain occasions, we're to admonish fellow believers (in love of course) when they're behaving in ways that are hurful.  To my limited understanding, this seems to imply that we are to point it out when a brother/sister needs it.  It's a truly difficult and unpleasant thing to even think about; how can I admonish anyone knowing full well that I probably make the same mistakes?  I mean, who among us is perfect and yet we're supposed to make a judgement call about a fellow brother/sister?  How can I not judge, and yet make a judgement call? Thoughts?

In Christ,

Gabriel
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008, 03:26:57 PM by livefreeordie » Logged
Marc Hanna
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2008, 03:04:31 PM »

I think we first need to make the distinction between judgement and discernment.  To judge is to come to a conclusion that a person is a sinner because [insert reason here], wheras to discern is to recognize an act that is sinful.

We should not be going around and pointing out others' mistakes though, instead, if we happen to notice that a brother or sister is continuing in a sinful act for which they might not know is a sin, we should make it apperent to them; or if they speak or preach in support of committing sin (or a sin) then we should also correct them.

But in addition to this, when we notice someone else's sin, we should also search ourselves to find whether or not we are guilty ourselves of this same sin, then purge ourselves of it before admonishing our brother or sister.
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scamandrius
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2008, 10:08:21 PM »

  On the other hand, St. Paul teaches that on certain occasions, we're to admonish fellow believers (in love of course) when they're behaving in ways that are hurful. 

Gabriel,

I find this to be the crux of the matter.  When the good order of the congregation or the Church is in peril from one person's or several persons' actions, then it is our responsibility that such actions do not tear the congregation or Church asunder.  I believe that it wa for this reason that St. John Chrysostom remarked that schism is actually worse than heresy because it tears us apart from the community at large. 

Just mho.
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2008, 01:27:00 AM »

Thanks for these great answers.  I want to take some time and ponder them before I ask anymore questons or make any comments.     
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2008, 01:42:58 AM »

Gabriel,

If I am with someone who has committed a sin (ex: getting pregnant before marriage, and this happened recently), I would never say anything about it. I figured the person knew it was wrong, our priest is her spiritual advisor so he would be the one to speak with her about it.
I always figure I could be the next one to fall (ex: what if I met another man, was tempted and fell into the sin of adultery). So I try to ignore other people's sins and keep my eyes focused on my own weaknesses and failings.

sincerely, Tamara
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2008, 06:25:18 AM »

It's a truly difficult and unpleasant thing to even think about; how can I admonish anyone knowing full well that I probably make the same mistakes? 

Whenever you choose to admonish anyone, it must be done under the right circumstances, and this takes knowing the person and the nature of the thing you are trying to correct.  This takes wisdom.  It requires alot of wisdom. Until then it is best not to correct them on specific things, unless you know how to correct them indirectly. Where it appears they are making the decision to correct themselves and you not correcting them. Which takes wisdom.  And it really depends on the person and the nature of the thing you are correcting.

But I believe there is a general answer to this, if it is in regards to sins.  The best thing to do is to encourage them to pray and go to bible study if you have it at your church or other religious services.  And to pray for them.  You lead them to the proper medicines.  Because unless you are their elder, or a really good friend or their priest you may be likely to stir anger and resentment.

People sin for a number of reason, lack of faith, lack of strength and lack of knowledge.  The best thing is to show them the LORD, and it is hoped that this will increase their faith, which will give them strength and perhaps increase the desire to study religious knowledge.

Quote
How can I not judge, and yet make a judgement call? Thoughts?


A pick pocket thief can identify another pick pocket thief. But it is very difficult for a common person to identify a pick pocket thief.

I remember reading in some self help book about this particular issue. Can't remember which one.  However, if you want to identify the good qualities and bad qualities about yourself what you do is think of three persons you like and three qualities you admire about them, and then think of three persons you dislike and three qualities you dislike about them.

Those good and bad qualities you identify, you probably have within yourself but do not necessarily realize it.

Perhaps Jesus was teaching this same psychology when he said, "Judge not that you shall be judge, the judgment you give you shall be judged."  You are judging people yet you yourself may have the qualities which you are judging.  The people picked up stones to stone the adulter, yet Jesus said, let him who has no sin cast the first stone.

The people who are so quick to judge are the people who need to be admonished themselves yet realize it not.

It is easy to learn how not to judge, by realizing you may have those qualities, but it is difficult to admonish people.

Mark the Ascetic said, "When reading the Holy Scripture, he who is humble and engaged in spiritual work will apply everything to himself and not someone else." (The Philokalia pg 110, "On the Spiritual Law" 6)

And it is our Lord alone who gives success.

In Christ
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2008, 05:38:55 PM »

Gabriel,

If I am with someone who has committed a sin (ex: getting pregnant before marriage, and this happened recently), I would never say anything about it. I figured the person knew it was wrong, our priest is her spiritual advisor so he would be the one to speak with her about it.
I always figure I could be the next one to fall (ex: what if I met another man, was tempted and fell into the sin of adultery). So I try to ignore other people's sins and keep my eyes focused on my own weaknesses and failings.

sincerely, Tamara

Tamara, this is so wise and kind. Maybe the wisest and kindest thing I've read for years. Thank you.
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2008, 08:29:05 PM »

Tamara, this is so wise and kind. Maybe the wisest and kindest thing I've read for years. Thank you.

Heorhij,

It would be dishonest of me to admit otherwise. I am weak.
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 10:42:26 PM »

A lot of great answers here.  The most important aspect of calling someone out it seems, besides discernment, is the fact that one must truly love the one they're admonishing; you do it not just to restore order, but because you really love the person and wish the best for them, and the 'best' for them is their salvation.  But of course, as others have pointed out, we must always judge ourselves to be the worst of sinners.  If we do this, how can we point out others' mistakes so readily?  So it seems the two most important aspects are humility and love.
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