“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
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The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.
We all know that there are some absolute goods and absolute evils, so you’d think it would’ve been a good thing for Adam and Eve to know those things, wouldn’t you?
Today’s scripture comes from the second creation story in the bible.
In the first story in the first chapter of Genesis, God creates everything and deems it all “very good.”
The second creation story features Adam and Eve and what has become known as “the fall” when Adam eats the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
In my opinion, the point here is that God is the determiner of what is good and what is evil – not humans.
(Could this be why Jesus answers the man who calls him “Good teacher” with, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”? (Mark 10:18)
We all have to make certain determinations about what is good and bad for us or we would aimlessly step off the curb of a busy street and walk into traffic.
But I think the point the author of Genesis is making today is that we have to be very careful about our inclination to quickly label things either good or evil.
That is dualism – when a person decides this person is good but this person is bad, this person is in, but this person is out.
They are “all or nothing” judgements, black or white.
And who is the judge?
I am, of course!
And I, in this equation, am always right!
I know what’s best.
This is very problematic!
I know there have been many times in my life when I have made judgements about someone and have later regretted it when I realized I was entirely wrong…or partly wrong.
This is why Jesus tells us not to be so fast to judge another because while we spot a splinter in someone else’s eye, we may be completely unaware of the “wooden beam” in our own (Matthew 7:1-5)!
Many times I have ended up regretting that I made determinations without all the information.
Before we make absolute judgements about people or events, perhaps we all need stop, take a deep breath, and ask, “What would Jesus do?”
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Remember: God loves you!