Judging and Correcting
Who am I to Judge?
Jesus tells us: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned” (Lc 6:37). The words of Jesus are for all, even for popes. We should approach our neighbor not as self righteous judges but as fellow sinners who reach out and suffer with them, trusting in God in our path to union with Him.
After Jesus' defense of the women, some probably said that He was defending adultery. Pope Francis is willing to suffer criticism to shepherd us deeper into the heart of Jesus. He is not changing the moral law; he is changing hearts.
Correction and the Welfare of Persons and Community
Is there "right" and "wrong"? Should we help others to see when they go wrong? YES, but we must be guided by Christ's wisdom or we would do more harm than good.
We are not the source of truth. What is right and wrong is revealed by God.
Scripture forbids that we judge others.
Show God's Mercy
Correct with love
The motivation for correction should be love. Think of the difference between those who judge a drug addict in condemnation and the addict's mother who, aware of his situation and with tears, does what she can to take him out the addiction. The difference is love. The mothers suffers deeply with her son and would give her life to rescue him from the addiction. By uniting her sufferings with Christ for the sake of her son, she is an instrument of healing grace to him. There is a third approach common today: That is to say that no one should judge the addict, thus they see no need to help him get out of the addiction.
We are sinners helping sinners
Since there is much about ourselves that we do not see, we should desire (not just accept but actively seek) to be corrected and admonished by others who love us enough to tell us what they see. One of the gifts of being in a community is having this kind of relationship through accompaniment.
We cannot go around admonishing or correcting everyone. But there are situations in which God does expect us to do so and thus fulfill the prophetic mission we received in baptism. St Paul writes: "for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears." (Act 20:31; Cf 1Cor 4:14). Tears are a sign of his sorrow and care for those oppressed by sin. He is thus acting based in love. It is the opposite of being self-righteous.
We have a particular responsibility for those with whom the Lord has placed us in special relationships: spouses, parents, spiritual directors, pastors, brothers and sisters in community.
St. Paul advices Titus to protect the flock from unrepentant sinners: "As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned" (Titus 3:9-11). Paul also tells us to "teach and admonish one another in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16) and to "admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all" (1Thes.5:4).
St. Paul writes to the Corinthians not to accept in the community sinners who do not want to change. This requires some judgment to protect the community from becoming worldly.I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you." (1 Cor 5-13)
The Christian community must also have the ability to resolve grievances and confront cases of immorality.When one of you has a grievance against a brother, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life! If then you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who are least esteemed by the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no man among you wise enough to decide between members of the brotherhood, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?...
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:1-11, Cf Hebrews 13:4 )
Scripture warns against false judgments
The Lord teaches not to "judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." (John 8:15). He warns: "You judge according to the flesh" (John 7:24). This kind of worldly judgment is most common and does immeasurable harm. It is driven by the devil who exploits our sinful tendencies. It lacks the wisdom and the love of God. This kind of judgment is sinful even if it were true, for truth without love is the work of the devil who is the accuser of the brethren. In addition, it leads to gossip, diffamation and other ways of speaking evil of others.
Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12)
True correction and admonishment requires wisdom from God. John Paul II wrote:
Wisdom is the light that is received from above: it is a special participation in that mysterious and supreme knowledge that is God Himself. In effect, we read in Holy Scripture: "Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepters and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing in comparison with her" (Wisdom 7, 7-8). This superior wisdom is the root of a new knowledge, a knowledge impregnated by charity, thanks to which the soul acquires familiarity, so to say, with divine things and tastes the good of them. Saint Thomas speaks of "certain taste of God" (Summa Theol. II-II, q.45, a. 2, ad. 1), so that the true sage is not simply the one who knows the things of God but the one who experiences them and lives them. In addition, knowledge of wisdom gives us a special capacity to judge human things according to the measurement of God, in the light of God. Enlightened by this gift, the Christian knows how to see interiorly the realities of the world: nobody better than he is capable of appreciating the authentic values of creation, seeing them with the eyes of God. -Audience, IV-IX-89, my translation from Sp
Only with divine wisdom can we seek the path of our own conversion and help others to journey with us in the narrow path.
Corrección y el Bienestar de las Personas y de la Comunidad
San Agustin: ¿Qué decir, Señor? ¿Favoreces el pecado? No, en absoluto. Fíjate en lo que sigue: “puedes irte y no vuelvas a pecar.” El Señor condena el pecado no al pecador.