Pathways through Lent

Understanding Judgment

Psalm 119:73-96 Jeremiah 3:6-18 Romans 1:28-2:11 John 5:1-18

I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right . . . (Psalm 119:75)

As a teacher, I find that the judgment and righteousness in Psalm 119 have perhaps a slightly different connotation than they do for people in other careers. Teachers are asked to judge and enforce notions of righteousness almost every minute of every day. One moment it may be a student acting out, another it may be an assignment or test to grade, and another it may be a phone call home to discuss progress. It is crucial that, while student actions affect the judgments we make and how we perceive righteousness, we must not permanently lose our willingness to see the good and potential in each student.

So too must judgment aid our understanding of life on earth without cutting off the possibility of change. As we interact with each other, we must keep in mind that acknowledgment does not mean approval and concern does not mean condemnation. Earthly decisions about righteousness are made by humans to reach earthly understandings, while heavenly judgments are given by God to aid our understanding of eternity.

This Lent I will strive to be ever mindful of how my judgments should be temporary guides to the constantly changing and complex network of people on this planet—and not eternal impositions sealing off the hope of growth and change.

–Katherine McClintic

February 27

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