Thursday, May 14, 2015


Detraction and Rashly Judging Others

There once lived a very pious and religious young woman.  She attended the Mass offered by her bishop every morning, and often went to the Church also for vespers in the evening.

Late one night she went for a walk in awe and contemplation of the beautiful starry night.  As she passed the house of an ill-reputed family, she saw her bishop sneaking around the back of the place.  She was aghast and horrified, and immediately went home very distressed. 

Never once did she think that perhaps the bishop had good reasons for being there.  All she thought of was how that father of that particular family encouraged his daughters to make a living by being libertines, and that the bishop being there could only mean that he was not the holy man everyone believed him to be. 

Hundreds of years later, all of us have heard of this bishop.  He is known by the name of Saint Nicholas.  We all know that he actually saved these girls by secretly giving them the money to have a proper dowry which then saved them from disgrace immorality.  

Yet, how many of us might have misjudged him if we had seen him and not known all the details?

How often we misjudge others because we do not understand them or their situation properly!

Our doing this is generally caused by three things: pride, stubbornness, and selfishness.

In our pride we come to many conclusions about people which may not be correct.  Then in our stubbornness we refuse to let go of these opinions which we have formed about others, even when good reasons are presented to us for which to do so.  And to top this off we then lose control of our tongues and say things about other people which we should not say even if we knew it absolutely to be true!  This is a violation of charity, and it is generally only out of selfishness and the desire to raise ourselves up and be esteemed by people that we speak ill of others.

So, we ought to determine to do the following things in order to overcome these faults in ourselves:

-1- Whenever we realize that we are starting to judge someone or their situation harshly; we ought to step back and realize that we are also weak and have our own faults.

-2- We must consider that we never know everything about a situation, and we should give those around us the benefit of the doubt. 

-3- Even if we are quite certain that someone has committed a certain fault, we ought to be silent about it, unless the safety or salvation of others is absolutely at stake. 

-5- Rather than accusing the faults of others to those we know, or resenting them for their faults, we ought to pray for them.  And the more their imperfections annoy us; the more we ought to determine to pray for them, and make sacrifices for them and their salvation.

-6- We must plant firmly upon our souls the opposite virtues of these faults: humility and charity.  These virtues will then help us to be docile and keep silent except when we ought to stand up for the greater glory of God and the benefit of our neighbor.

-7- I also believe that if we try to empathize with those around us, and feel their pains and sorrows as if they were our own; then we will be more inclined to be charitable. 

Final Conclusion

The saints tell us that “knowledge precedes love”. 

So, if ever we find ourselves being uncharitable to others by rashly judging them or speaking ill of them; let us seek to understand them better.  Let us try to see the good that is in them, and how much they also struggle in life.  It is only through compassion and sympathy that a person ever truly begins to love, and to love God and our neighbor contains all the commandments given to us by God.  

Furthermore, it is only once we truly know a person that we will come to love them appropriately, and only once we love them more fully that we are able to serve them and God as we ought.  

Therefore, let us attempt to make this our goal: to better know, love and serve God and our neighbor for the greater honor and glory of God, the edification of others, and the salvation of our immortal souls.

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