Love, not judgment, is the answer

I remember a quote that goes something like: “There’s so much good in the worst of us, and so much that’s wrong in the best of us, that it keeps any of us from judging the rest of us.”

Dr. Gerald Jampolski offers a further insight when he writes: “When I am able to resist the temptation to judge others, I can see them as teachers of forgiveness in my own life, reminding me that I can have peace of mind only when I forgive rather than judge.”

In truth most of us are always judging other people. The ironic reason is that most of us are always judging and blaming ourselves. Peace in the outer world must begin with peace within our own hearts.

Allow me to quote a meditation from a book in the Hazelden Series: “The more harshly we judge others the more likely we are to be intolerant of ourselves. It’s also likely that behind our judgment is unexpressed anger, hurt, sadness, rage and fear.

“Once we recognize and accept the feelings that cause us to judge, we have a chance to feel them. Once we start feeling, we can confront the truth about what’s bothering us. It isn’t other people’s behavior after all. It’s us. Then, forgiveness comes easily and naturally. Then holding an image of ourselves and the people that we judge in the light of our mind’s eye, we can imagine our relationships completely healed.”

Love, not judgment, is the answer to every problem. Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves because that’s the only way to love. If we don’t love ourselves, we will project our judgments and blame onto others.

A little formula that I teach in workshops and sermons involves four steps.

Step one; release all feelings of disapproval of yourself. Step two; give yourself love and approval each day – at least a thousand times a day. Step three, release all judgments of others. Step four, give them love and approval each day – at least a thousand times a day. If someone really bugs you or upsets you, give them love and approval at least 10,000 times a day.

The point is simple. If we are filled with love ourselves, we see the world through lenses of love. As noted above, our judgments often involve anger, hurt, sadness, rage and fear. Love dissolves all of them. We just need to practice all day, every day, until loving becomes a habit instead of fear.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.