Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Today's Gospel has one of the most quoted lines of non-Christians to Christians "Stop Judging." Every time a Christian has a counter-cultural opinion about a lifestyle choice, we hear "Jesus said 'Stop Judging!'"
I always have two gut responses. The first being that I'm not judging your lifestyle by choosing to live a different lifestyle. For instance, the very fact that I'm not looking for a one-night stand doesn't mean I'm 'judging you' for looking for one. It is true that I don't believe that to be how the Lord wants us to live out the fullness of our sexuality. It is true that I want more for you and wish you weren't giving your body away in this manner. It is true that I believe the Lord wants something different for your life because He is calling you and me to live up to a higher purpose. None of these things are 'judging' though. They are loving you and desiring the best for you.
The second is that judging actions as right or wrong is not the same as judging peoples intentions and their soul. It is not my place to judge whether you will be admitted to Heaven at the end of your life or spend eternity separated from God in Hell. I can't even judge my own life by that standard. I can only hope that we will all be invited into the Heavenly Kingdom for eternity. I am not interested in the alternative, so really that's the only reasonable option.
In order to get to Heaven though, I need to judge the actions I take as right or wrong. As choosing to follow God's will for my life or to follow the world's will for my life. There are times when these might be the same, but many times they are different.
We are called to be different from the world. We are called to choose love, forgive more often, and lay down our lives for others. Like Hebrew National Hot Dogs, we "answer to a higher authority." We are called to love one another, not judge one another's intentions. We are called to presume they are doing the best they can to love the Lord with the knowledge they have. We are called to reveal the love of God to them and encourage them to follow His will not just 'whatever feels good today.'
Why? As the second half of the "stop judging" phrase says "and you will not be judged."
I've experienced many times when my motives are questioned. I said the wrong thing, assumed something, and then I'm attacked for intentionally hurting the other person. I didn't set out to hurt them. I haven't been sitting around plotting their demise and how I could hurt them, destroy them, or shame them. My intentions were good. I was still wrong and needed to repent so as to not do that again in the future, but my intentions were good.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Do you judge the intentions of other people or presume they are doing their best?
Do you avoid judging behaviors or choices presented to you because of the line "stop judging"?
Are you seeking to do God's will or to follow the ways the world tells you are right?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I want to serve you Lord."
"I seek to love you more."
"Let me share your love with the world."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Add an additional fast today offering it up for all those you have mistakenly judged in the past. Ask the Lord to reveal His love to them.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Katie Herzing, a former youth minister turned parish evanglization consultant living in North Carolina.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.