“You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.” John 8:15-16
There is perhaps no attribute more human than our tendency to judge others. Our ego, our false sense of self that seeks meaning outside of God, feeds on the affirmation that we’re better than others, or the fear that we are not.
This is the “human standard,” the need to satisfy the fear and avarice of our ego. Regardless of the rationale or perceived necessity in which we clothe our judgement, at the foundation lies our desire to feel superior to others, or the nagging fear of our own inferiority.
Jesus calls us to rise above this “human standard,” to set aside judgment and embrace our God-given worth, a worth crafted in God’s own image. In that standard none of us can be any better or any worse than our neighbor.
Overcoming the ego and accepting that we will never be worth more to God than our neighbor is counter to everything this world teaches us. That’s why Jesus made this a recurring theme in the Gospels, telling us “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” and “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
Jesus, God Incarnate in human form, would naturally be the one person justified in passing judgment on others. But, he refused, setting the true standard for us to follow.
The only authority competent to judge is God, who sent the Word to become Incarnate among us, and through the Holy Spirit, in us. Our calling, then, is not to judge, but to love, following the standard set for us by Christ.
Lord, give us the strength today to rise above the human standard of our ego, to abandon the desire to judge ourselves and others, and to live in the perfect love that holds us all equal before God. Amen.