Updated: 8 hours ago
This Weeks Video
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”(1) The word judge as a verb arose from words that typically meant “to form an opinion about”. More broadly speaking it meant to “make a decision, decide, think, suppose”. It can be extrapolated then that this aspect of forgiveness, which is about not judging, means; don’t form an opinion, don’t decide, think, or suppose. You could well be justified in asking, “Well what am I supposed to do?”
In short, observe and remember that you have the choice to be kind.
Judgement is typically a projection onto someone or something, including ourselves, which arises from our thoughts of what we have determined is right or wrong. Irrespective of the source of our opinion, whether it’s how we were programmed in our formative years, life’s experience, or expanded knowledge, this is not about making your opinion wrong. We are each entitled to think and believe what we think is right or wrong. The key to this facet of forgiveness is that it doesn’t ask you to change your thinking, it’s about not projecting your thinking. When the scripture says, “judge not” it is actually saying “don’t decide, think, or suppose” anything about what’s going on.
What a relief to know that you don’t have to do anything to change your filters for how you see life. Nothing in this act of forgiveness is asking you to change your thinking, it is just asking you to be the observer instead. As you would appreciate, if you remove the urge to decide, think, or suppose, all that is left is to observe. Be the observer of the facts, and as discussed in the last blog, then use a full-stop, and not a comma. (Hope you didn’t miss the humour in the structure of that last sentence.) A full-stop has you stick to the facts. A comma invites you to add in your opinion, your supposition, your judgement of the event. Observation doesn’t give anything a meaning, and as such makes it possible to maintain a place of inner peace.
As the observer there are a few things you will be able to see. Firstly, you can see the facts of the event, the things that played out that resulted in you being discombobulated. Obviously, you can observe your state of being discombobulated. You can also observe the way the events have discombobulated others. If the event included a perpetrator, you can also observe them. The interesting thing about being an observer who uses full-stops is that there are no feelings of any kind when you are fully immersed in the place of observation. Yes, you might be experiencing feelings in your state of judgement, but as the observer, there are no feelings. It’s just facts without any meaning. Meaning which fuels feelings and thoughts, and in some cases behaviour.
What you will begin to experience and understand is that there is a certain amount of comfort and peace that are intrinsic to the place of observation. In an event that typically causes suffering of one kind or another there is actually a place of peace, a place of stillness. This is what meditation helps you to understand. There is a part of you that can constantly be the witness, which almost sits outside of that part of you that is in the experience that is causing you to feel discombobulated.
This was beautifully depicted in a biblical story that was academically debated for a long time as not being original scripture. So much so, some early Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of John did not include these verses. It was argued that it was morally dangerous since it promoted the idea that Jesus was soft on adultery.
Jesus is in the temple teaching, and a group of scribes and Pharisees (the letter-of-the-law Jews) interrupt his teaching when they present a woman who they claim had been caught in the act of adultery. They want to know if she should be stoned to death as prescribed by the Mosaic law. At first Jesus ignores the woman’s accusers and keeps writing on the ground as if he hadn’t heard them. (Maybe he was being the observer.) They persist in their challenge of Jesus, who finally responds stating that the one of them who is without sin should be the one to cast the first stone.
With that, everyone departs. Jesus is left alone with the woman. He says to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” Then he says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”(2) Since there was no judgement, there was no condemnation.
It could be perceived that Jesus, in his place of observation, considered the facts. He was in the temple teaching, which given his track record, would have been about the love of God being more important than obedience to the letter of the law. He would have been surrounded by those who were listening. A group of letter-of-the-law Jews interrupted him. A woman is cast down before him, who is very possibly extremely scared, and feeling shame and fear. He observes their judgement that demands punishment, which in this case is death by stoning. He would be aware that these men would not be without sin.
Without judgement of them, or her he simply asks, ‘Who here is without sin? You cast the first stone.’ They all depart. Then he, continuing to be in the place of non-judgement, and staying the observer says to her that he doesn’t condemn her either. He does however go one step further. He gives her advice, ‘go and sin no more’. In other words, ‘You will find more peace and not have to deal with shame if you are more conscious of your choices.” It could be expected that he would have taught her and those who witnessed what had occurred about his second favourite topic, loving your neighbour, as yourself.
This is the add-on to being the observer. You then take a moment to remember that you have a choice to be kinder to yourself, and to others. You use the energy that could have been used in condemnation to ask the question, ‘What could this person tell me that would help me understand why they are the way they are?’ Or you might recall that there are only two motives for all behaviour, it’s either extending love or it’s a call for help. Jesus would have seen both the scribes and Pharisees behaviour as a call for help, as equally as the condemned woman. Neither were judged.
In any situation that causes discombobulation, choose to observe, and use full-stops, not comma’s. Then take them time to remember that you have a choice to be kinder to yourself, and to others.
(1) Matthew 7:1
(2) John 7:53 - 8:11
Read More From This Series
Over the upcoming months we will cover several other topics on how to apply forgiveness so that we may embrace a life of stillness. If you would like to receive these blogs directly to your inbox as they are released, enter your detail at the bottom of the page to receive our free, monthly e-zine.