Luke 6, 37-38
Something to read
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
King James Version
‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
Jesus is slowing us down. Those moments of reaction that can cause such damage to us and to others are being rewritten here. We know what it is to judge and to be judged, to condemn and to be condemned. Human history is marked by the wreckage of such things.
Nations and peoples have been devastated by the cost of judgement and its result; condemnation. Individual lives, including our own, have been blighted by this hostile calculation that unpicks our relationships and builds walls between ourselves and others.
Jesus slows us down. Instead of the rush to judgement and the harshness of condemnation he invites us into a slower and more gentle way; forgive and be forgiven, give, and receive in return.
The choice here is ours to make. We can be so much closer to God if we accept the frailty of others and offer them the opportunity that our forgiving gives to them. Instead of building a wall of judgement we can open a door of restoration by our willingness to forgive.
And we can allow ourselves to be forgiven, perhaps an even harder task. And, in this forgiving, we echo something deep of the reality of God. We who deserve at God’s hands such judgement and condemnation find instead forgiveness.
Something to do
Jesus is speaking hard words to us. What will we do in return? Is today a forgiving day for you? Who might you forgive? Is there someone? If so, as this text reaches out to you, what might you do?
Something to pray
We hear your Son speak these words as those for whom he intercedes nail him to the cross.
The enormity of forgiving touches us.
Give us the grace to create and build rather than to tear down and push away.
Help us to heal rather than to feed the hurts that divide and isolate us from each other.
Bless us with the gift of time to rebuild and time to mend.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers