“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven… For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” – Lk. 6:37-38

I’ve heard these words so many times before, and all seems fine and dandy until I find myself in situations where I feel intensely upset at another person. I can quickly justify how I or others have been wronged, how it seems so crystal clear, and start spewing out thoughts of how could the other person be so unaware, or inconsiderate, and so on. Do I confront them about it, do I let it go? How do I allow myself to “be angry, but do not sin”? In the heat of the moment, as the saying goes, emotions abound and peace feels like a galaxy too far away.

Until, I realize I’m earnestly flapping about in the waves and am reminded to turn my glance toward Jesus. As the Psalmist implores today, “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.” Jesus, please help me. I can’t get past my anger right now. Deep breaths. Not engaging with the negative energy. A silent peace begins to flow...

A more integrated perspective came to me recently while having to confront a team member at work who I had to have a difficult conversation with because of how this person was treating other people. It was a learning on my part as a manager and leader as well, because while I did have to reprimand this person, I also didn’t want to bring the guilt trip down so hard that they would lose sight of their gifts and strengths and therefore create more disorder in the work. That is, in the midst of my upset I also had to learn to ultimately see beyond the mistakes and focus on encouraging the good to continue growing. This was not easy for me. I’m convinced that the love that I ultimately expressed could have only come through from God.

Seeing Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel reminds me of the same in my relationship with God toward myself as well. If I am judgmental towards others, I am always at least 10 times more judgmental and harder on myself. God doesn’t only want me to stop being so harsh sometimes (which, upon reflection, really is just a reaction of me at times not feeling loved and taking it out on others, and realizing they are just as human too with their own journeys and struggles). He also invites me to take a step further and focus on the light, for “a good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” That His love is so much greater than my or anyone else’s faults or failings. That He needs me to stop beating myself up, to be able to do the great work and be the person He has called me to be. That when I do this, the judging and condemning of both myself and others almost automatically stops. This becomes a new daily approach, surfacing, emerging, and growing slowly - and where that leads is beyond imagination.

Jesus, at times it feels so much continues to try to pull me away from being my best self in you. I can’t do this alone. Please help me to trust more deeply in Your mercy and love so that I may share that more fully with others as well.

Quyen (Nhi) Ngo