Jesus and Judgement (DBT musings part II)

Today I was in the DBT group that I observe as a student therapist and found scripture coming to mind as we covered mindfulness basics.

Nonjudgement is a key aspect of of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. In DBT Mindfulness participants are encouraged to refrain from judgmnt and instead to observe, describe, then fully participate.  Many people who come to the group are plagued with judgement of themselves. 

Jesus says “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7 1-2)

It is interesting that Jesus makes this link.  I previously interpreted this verse to mean that God will judge me as I have judged others.  However, I see now that it is also possible to interpret this scripture in the present tense- the more judgement I pass on others, the more I will also pass on myself. 

However, as in the parable about the log and speck (Matthew 7) just as we judge others incorrectly we also judge ourselves (I’m no good, I’m unloveable) inaccurately, often overjudge, and miss the parts of ourselves that hurt others (pride, arrogance). 

Throughout the Bible we are told that the only true judge is God alone- he is the ultimate judge- then why do we so often take on that role? 

Even Jesus’ disciples were notorious judgers- how many times did Jesus’ disciples want to turn away people because they innacurately judged Jesus’ love and desire to meet them?  For example, the little children (Matthew 19:13-15), and the Caananite woman (Matthew 15: 21-27). 

Is part of faith in Jesus refraining from judgement?  Not only to others, but to ourselves, and in judging what God can do and how He loves the world?

At first when I heard about non-judgement  I thought that th idea was ridiculous and not Christian as we want God to change our lives and free us from sin.  Isn’t judging the way we recognize sin in our lives?

Maybe, maybe not.

First of all we ask God to identify sin in our lives (Psalm 139: 22-24). 

Secondly we can examine ourselves with compassion and kindness- without judgement as God affirms us that he has saved us through his son and there is no condemnation (Romans 8: 1).  Why would we condemn ourselves when God has freed us?

How then do we identify sin in our lives?  We can examine our lives and observe the times and ways in which we have been far and near from God.  This can take the from of the daily examen – an ancient practice develop by St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Through observation of ourselves the discrepency between what is Godly and good, and what are the desires of flesh we can understand our actions, and seek forgiveness, repent, and recieve new life.

Many who have been saved by God continue to condemn and judge themselves.  Especially people we see in our neighborhood who have mental illness and drug addiction, are estranged from their family, and see their life as a string of failure. 

“It doesn’t make sense why God would love a person like me…”

“It’s hard to see anything but sin and regret in my life…”

Can Jesus free us from self-judgement? Yes, he must.  But he also fills us with the Holy Spirit which groans within us to rebuke us kindly and gently and as we experience the father’s love he slowly shows us our sin as we’re ready in a gentle way through scripture and his spirit.

In that way observing and describing and refrain judgeing can be a good start to accepting the love of Christ, rather than pushing it away or reinforcing the lies of the world (that we are unloveable, no good, constantly failing…). 

What do you think?  Comments?? Ideas?

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