Day 11: The Power of Judgments

EVEN though we may have forgiven others, and even ourselves, there is still a subtle but dangerous deception that we need to be sure is rooted out of our lives — one that can still divide, wound, and destroy. And that is the power of wrongful judgments.

Let us begin Day 11 of our Healing Retreat: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.

Come Holy Spirit, the promised Advocate whom Jesus said would “convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation.” [1]cf. John 16:8 I worship and adore you. Spirit of God, my life-breath, my strength, my Helper in times of need. You are the revealer of truth. Come and heal the divisions in my heart and in my family and relationships where judgements have taken root. Bring the divine light to shine upon the lies, false assumptions, and hurtful conclusions that linger. Help me to love others as Jesus has loved us so that the power of love may triumph. Come Holy Spirit, Wisdom and Light. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

You are about to enter into the song of the angels being exclaimed in Heaven “day and night”: Holy, Holy, Holy (Rev 4:8)… Make this part of your opening prayer.


Holy, Holy, Holy
God of power and God of might
Heaven and the Earth
Are full of Your glory

Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest

Blessed is He who comes
in the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest

Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna in the highest

Holy, Holy, Holy

—Mark Mallett, from Here You Are, 2013©

The Splinter

I am dedicating a Day of this retreat on this subject alone as I believe it is one of the greatest spiritual battlegrounds of our times. Jesus said,

Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Matt 7:1-5)

Judgment is one of the chief weapons of the prince of darkness. He is using this device to divide marriages, families, friends, communities, and ultimately, nations. Part of your healing in this reteat is that the Lord wants you to become aware of and let go of any judgments you may have in your heart — judgments that can prevent the healing of relationships that Jesus has in store for you.

Judgments can become so powerful, so convincing, that the mere look on another person’s face can carry a meaning that simply doesn’t exist.

I remember years ago at a concert I gave that there was one man in the front row with a scowl on his face the whole evening. I finally thought to myself, “What the heck is his problem? Why is he even here?” As it turns out, he was the first one to approach me after the concert and thank me profusely for the evening. Yup, I had judged the book by its cover.

When judgments take deep root against another person, their every action, their silence, their choices, their presence — all can fall under a judgment we carry toward them, assigning false motives, erroneous conclusions, suspicions and lies. That is, sometimes the “splinter” in our brother’s eye is not even there! We just belive the lie that it is, blinded by the wooden beam in our own. This is why this retreat is so important that we seek the Lord’s help to remove anything that is obscuring our vision of others and the world.

Judgments can destroy friendships. Judgments between spouses can lead to divorce. Judgements between relatives can lead to years of cold silence. Judgments can lead to genocide and even nuclear war.I think the Lord is shouting to us: “Stop judging!”

So, part of our healing is making sure that we have repented of all judgments that we carry in our hearts, including those against ourselves.

Loving as Christ Loves Us

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world… Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life He has in himself. —CCCn. 679

One of the great transforming works of love (see Day 10) is to accept others where they are at. To not shun or condemn them, but love them in all their imperfections so that they would be attracted to Christ in you and eventually the truth. St. Paul puts it this way:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)      

The law to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Bearing one another’s burderns, however, becomes much more difficult when another’s temperament is not to our liking. Or their love language doesn’t meet our own needs and desires. This is where some marriages get into trouble and why communication and understanding, patience and sacrifice are essential. 

For example, my love language is affection. My wife’s is acts of service. There was a time when I began to let judgments creep into my heart that my wife did not care for me or desire me as much. But that was not the case — touch is not her primary love language. And yet, when I would go out of my way to do things for her around the house, her heart came alive toward me and she felt loved, far more than she did by my affection. 

This brings us back to Day 10’s discussion of the healing power of lovesacrificial love. Many times, judgments spring to life because we are not being served and catered to by another. But Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” And so,

…serve one another through love.  (Gal 5:13)

If this is not our mindset, then the soil of our relationships is being prepared for the seeds of judgment to take root.

See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled… (Hebrews 12:15)

For husbands and wives in particular, the imperative is clear: even though a husband is spiritual head of the wife in the order of grace,[2]cf. Eph 5:23 in the order of love, they are equals:

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)

If we just stopped judging and truly began serving one another, as Christ has served us, so many of our conflicts would simply end.

How Have I Judged?

Some people are more easy to love than others. But we are called even to “love your enemies.”[3]Luke 6:27 That also means giving them the benefit of the doubt. The following passage from the Catechism can serve as a small examination of conscience when it comes to judgments. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anyone whom you have perhaps fallen into these traps with:

He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved. —CCC, 2477-2478

Trusting in Christ’s mercy, ask forgiveness, renounce the judgments you have made, and resolve to see this person with Christ’s eyes.

Is there someone whom you need to seek forgiveness from? Do you need to ask pardon for having judged them? Your humility in this instance can sometimes open up new and healing vistas with the other person because, when it comes to judgments, you are also liberating them if they have perceived your judgments.

There is nothing more beautiful when the lies between two people or two families, etc. fall, and the flower of love takes the place of those bitter roots.

It can even begin the healing of marriages that seem broken beyond repair. While I wrote this song about my wife, it can also apply to anyone. We can touch other hearts when we refuse to judge them and just love them the way that Christ loves us…

In The Way

Somehow we are a mystery
I was made for you, and you for me
We’ve gone beyond what words can say
But I hear them in you everyday… 

In the way that you love me
In the way your eyes meet mine
In the way you forgive me
In the way you hold me so tight

Somehow you’re the deepest part of me
A dream become reality
And though we’ve had our share of tears
You’ve proven I don’t need to fear

In the way that you love me
In the way your eyes meet mine
In the way you forgive me
In the way you hold me tight

Oh, I see in you, a very simple truth
I see living proof that there’s a God
Because His name is Love
The One who died for us
Oh, it’s easy to believe when I’m seein’ Him in you

In the way that you love me
In the way your eyes meet mine
In the way you forgive me
In the way you hold me tight
In the way you hold me so tight

—Mark Mallett, from Love Holds On, 2002©


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1 cf. John 16:8
2 cf. Eph 5:23
3 Luke 6:27