Judge not, lest ye be judged and other clever ways to keep us off the moral hook

I’m taking this week off of NFP to focus on a topic that seems fitting seeing as we have a great new pope and many non-Catholics are bemoaning the fact that he is *gasp* a diligent follower of the Catechism.  So, yes, I’ll be finishing that series of posts as promised and, yes, I’ll be commenting about how awesome the conclave was and our new pope is, but today, I’m going to focus on Judgement.

There’s a popular meme that’s been floating around lately.  Perhaps you’ve seen it, perhaps it’s totally old school to you as, at least three of you, can’t read at this moment and won’t be surfing the internet until I’m good and ready to let you :).  Here it is:  Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you do.

Ugh.  This has been surfacing on my Facebook feed for the last year.  It, to me, is reminiscent of the bumper sticker Coexist, that has been driving me crazy for the last ten years.  Both are attempts to showcase the poster/driver as enlightened and the reader as in need of “getting to the same plane.”  Bull, I call it.

People, since the fall, are sinful.  True.  Since the fall, people feel shame.  True.  Since the fall, people have wanted to avoid shame.  True.  Since the fall, only a few have actually attained truth and therefore are responsible for shaming the rest of us into behaving the way they do.  FALSE!!!

The way I feel it and see it is that this mentality, along with the bumper sticker, is just another way for the poster/driver, to avoid admitting to sin.  It’s comforting for us.  We get to point out to others that we “get it.”  We get to try to get you to “get it” and in the process we don’t have to apologize for our sin, just admit that we do it and you should back off because you do it, too.  It’s the proverbial finger-pointing my middles do right now:

Me:  B, why are you eating fruit snacks?  You didn’t ask and it’s not time for a snack.

 

Big Sis:  E started it!

Yeah…it’s that mature.  Deflection is a powerful tool in the shame arsenal, but it isn’t true.  Sure, both kiddos were eating fruit snacks outside of the time of snacking, but neither were okay in doing so and both needed to admit fault and CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR!  Still, the societal answer would seem to be:  admit nothing, just celebrate the fact that we’re all eating fruit snacks outside of bounds.

I’ll say it again:  bull!

So while I’m not God and I’m not about to judge anyone, I am a follower of God and He gave us a few rules to follow.  These rules spell out some pretty clear rights and wrongs and it is my duty to follow them, make sure my kiddos follow them, and stand up for the legislation of these rules.  This does not mean I run around and point to sinners like me and say, “Ooooooohhhhh, you are so in trouble!!!”  No.  That is just obnoxious.  But I will not sit idly by and just nod and smile as you report your sins to me and expect either absolution or downright commiseration.  No.  If I see you letting your daughter spend the night with her boyfriend at the tender age of 16, I’ll smack you and then I’ll point out what a stupid idea that is.  You can then feel free to play tit-for-tat with me and point out some heinous wrong I’m committing.  What we can not do is look at each other and bite our tongues because, after all, we’re both sinners.  Again, I’ll repeat myself:  the fact that we both sin, does not mean that our sins are anything but sin!

There are rights and there are wrongs and it is our duty to uphold right, not to pretend it doesn’t exist.  And while charity is more than somewhat important here and the scrupulous need to check themselves, we can’t keep implying or allowing ourselves to believe that simply being a sinner in conjuction with other sinners makes that sinning ok or less sinful.  And no, that’s not just my opinion :).

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