“Judge Not, That You Be Not Judged.” Mathew 7:1
08 November, 2012

As fallible human beings, we usually trip into the bottomless pit of assessing others in a condemnatory fashion, oblivious to our own failings. The truth of the matter is that we’ve all judged, and been judged more often than we realize. I’ve been recently touched by the wickedness, from a girl who was thought to radiate her unwavering convictions everywhere she went. She exhibited them through her modest clothing and style, her sleek black hair always pulled back so tightly

it could’ve ripped her scalp off any minute.

She was the girl who preached morals to everyone she could, portraying sinful notions as poisonous arrows flitting after those who dared to think of them. In her religious student organizations, she spoke of Satan prowling around the surface of a believer’s soul, seeking a crack to slip through. She needn’t speak, for everyone to feel her thoughts breathed into their minds, warning us against earthly pleasures and sinful unspeakable acts. I had never attended any of her meetings, but I had heard they were intensely arduous. Even if I did have a desire to go, I knew I would’ve felt immensely intimidated by my lack of religious knowledge in comparison to others. I decided the honor of being there was too high for me.

During my first semester of college, I had the fortune of being with her in a writing class. She gave a little chuckle when I walked in one day, smirked, and then went back to what she was doing. Later, I saw her look at me again from across the table. “Look at what she’s wearing. Her jeans are tighter than the skin on her body,” she whispered through her pale lips, pursed into a thin line. Since then I thought of her faith as a bud forced to bloom before its time.

The moral of the story follows these observations. Whether or not people try to hide it, there’s always a thought behind a stare and criticism behind a thought. Something is always brewing. The air is always thick with judgment, of people firmly pinning their untrained gaze on others, dampening their confidence and slaying their energy. I never understood how looks can be tinged with so much infectious negativity.

People are too consumed by assessments of others, instead of cherishing their own moments with their selves, everyone else and above all, with God. As for that girl, her moments lingered there as if waiting. Wanting, pleading and begging to be recognized. But her mind was too clogged for such details. Instead, she dwelled on my religious errors.

I think we all have an unconscious craving for spiritual freedom. Absolute freedom comes in acknowledging those brief moments, of freeing oneself from the adhesive qualities of envy, judgment, prejudice and gossip.

The actions of this girl stirred so many poignant questions in my head. Where do devout followers of religion go wrong with implementing their faith into their actions? Would it be more moral to commit an immoral act had they not promised otherwise in the words of their prayers to God? Is that a flaw in the religious doctrine, or a flaw in its execution by followers? I’ve come to realize that there will always be pretenders who condemn the immorality of others, but don’t seem troubled with their own flaws.

It is an issue of trying to quantitatively measure one’s faith when such a feat is merely impossible. I for one do not believe that spiritual achievement depends on an outward expression of religion. It is in developing and sustaining a pure relationship with the self, and others, and through professing faith in both small and grand acts of kindness, in a lifetime of service. I find a particular brand of liberation in those gestures, in cloaking them with modesty, immune to evaluations.

I don’t proclaim myself a better Christian. I admit to my failures, I admit to my sins. But I sweetly embrace my daily relationship with God and his perfect grace, mending my imperfections and perfecting them with his grace.