Living with Intention in 5775: Week 7

This is a guest post that Laurie L. graciously wrote to share with all the readers participating in the challenge for Living with Intention in 5775! Thank you, Laurie, for sharing your thoughts on what this week’s challenge is about!

    I’ve been working on not being so quick to judge lately.  So many times I feel like I’m walking around like a judge in a big black robe, a powdered white wig, and slamming down my huge gavel just passing judgement everywhere and anywhere.  Somehow I “know it all” and I look around at all these people just living these crazy, busy, selfish, self-centered lives. What are they doing, can’t they get it together?!  Oh, these good old thoughts that pop into my mind from time to time.  And I can very easily run with them and judge away, condemning people and their words, actions, reactions, their clothes, their lifestyles, oh man the list goes on if I don’t put on the brakes and change my thought process…

A book I’ve mentioned before, “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus” by Lois Tverberg has a chapter I refer back to on just this topic.  It is called “Taking My Thumb Off of the Scale” where she shares many insights from the Rabbis, the Scriptures, and a few nuggets of her own.  Any quotes I share either from Rabbis or Scripture are from what she has shared within this chapter.  I learned that judging favorably has been emphasized by the rabbis as being just as important as visiting the sick, praying, or teaching the Scriptures to your children. (page 107)  I don’t know about you but at this point, I was all ears!  Help me make a change!  

     Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachia said, “Judge each person with the scales weighed in their favor.”

     Rabbi Yeshua said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.(Luke 6:38-38)

    According to Tverberg, gossip also relies heavily on judgement and the rabbis say people who gossip are like flies that always land on an open sore, they ignore people’s good traits and only focus on their faults. (page 110)  

     Baal Shem Tov said, “A man prone to suspect evil is mostly looking in his neighbor for what he sees in himself.”

     Rabbi Yeshua warns us about our anger and our words when he said, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, `You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, `You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:22)

     Hillel said, “Judge not your fellow man until you yourself come into his place.”

     I realize that sometimes I’m going through my day and someone on the road can really irritate me when they cut me off.  Because of working with children for so many years I’ve learned to fuss and vent using silly words when I’m angry and upset.  So I’m not quick to flash hand signs at them or yell profanity, but I might call them a banana peel, a weirdo, or just raise my voice in the car and say, “Dude what is your problem?!  Do you not see there are children in this car with me?  Don’t make me get out and go ninja on you!”  But instead of that or even mentally growling, fuming, and thinking I really know what their obvious “selfish problem” is, I could instead stop, breathe, and judge them favorably.  Perhaps there is an emergency and they need to get to help, or someone in their car is feeling very ill and they need to hurry to pull over or get to a restroom, or maybe they are from out of town and needed to hurry and had to cut lanes to get over to the proper exit.  I could learn to instead go on and on with possible positive scenarios instead of negative ones, couldn’t I?  

Paul reminds us, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)

Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”(Matthew 7:1-5)      “One who judges his neighbor favorably will be judged favorably by G-d.”  Talmud, Shabbat 127a

     So dear sisters, during week 7 I challenge you to join me in rewiring our thoughts and reactions to the people we encounter in our daily lives and to learn to judge favorably.  Be forewarned that judging favorably is not always necessary.  If someone’s motives are purely evil we shouldn’t  judge favorably in these cases.  All in all I’m thankful that Hashem is the Judge of all, and I know that He can and will help me to learn to leave everything to Him.  I have enough of a plank in my own eye that I need to work on, so thanks for praying for me and working with me in this challenge and all the others we have begun and have yet to journey on together!

Shalom and blessings,