Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Monk's View on Judgement

photo source
Today in my Desert Spirituality Sunday school class, we heard what the monks have to say about judgement.  Throughout the entirety of this class, my emotions ranged from conviction to relief.

You know, I've judged.

I've been judged.

And as my delightful Sunday school teachers says, God is good at judging.  We are not.  So, let's not do it.

Well, I think that is pretty wise.  Don't you?

Since I'm a little overwhelmed with planning my class for Monday morning and currently it is late Sunday  night, I'm leaving with you some quotes by the Abbas and the Ammas, or the monks, in other words.

Let me know what you think...

Abba Poeman said that Abba Paphnutius used to say, "During the whole lifetime of the old me, I used to go to see them twice a month, although it was a distance of twelve miles.  I told them my thoughts and they never answered me anything but this, 'Wherever you go, do not judge yourself and you will be at peace.'"

Abba Theodore also said, "If you are temperate, do not judge the fornicator, for you would then transgress the law just as much.  And he who said, 'Do not commit fornication,' also said, 'Do not judge.'"

A brother asked the same old man (Abba Euprepius), "'How does the fear of God dwell in the soul?"  The old man said, 'If a man is possessed of humility and poverty, and if he does not judge others, the fear of God will come to him.'"

Alright -- discuss.

Linking with Michelle at Graceful.


  1. The monks' wisdom is rock-solid awesome. But that Sunday school teacher of yours? She nailed it.

  2. I love what your Sunday school teacher said. And the monks shared much wisdom. We ALL fall short of God's glory and need redemption.

  3. Amen - leave judging to the one who is best at it. I also like what the monk said 'Wherever you go, do not judge yourself and you will be at peace.'
    Great wisdom there
    God bless

  4. Your post was a good reminder of how much I judge myself. It's that voice of inner condemnation. Ick. And yet I think there must be something in our DNA which wants and longs to be judged. Maybe there are two standards always at work within us. Judgment from the enemy. Or judgment from our Savior. We have to choose the right judge.

  5. ^^^^ what they already said in the comments! xoxo

  6. Judgement is a word thrown around these days. I am often afraid to have an opinion and I certainly think about what I have to say for fear of being called judgemental. The monk's view is more internal. Change the heart and you won't shoot your mouth off!

  7. Judging others, it comes down to the fact that we want to be on top; and we are not willing to see our faults, but yet, focus instead, on the ones that are evident, from our point of view, on others.

    Finding faults, criticism, snide remarks, this all comes under the heading of judging that person. Our standards are fallible. Yet, we seem to hold them in a higher level than God's standards.

    It seems too easy to allow Our Lord to be the one to gently chastise, to gently discipline. It gives us no satisfaction to see the hand of Our Lord at work.

    Again, another place where the lie has been accepted, instead of His Truth.


  8. I love what monks have to say!

    I think at some point, when I'm not mothering small children, I'd love to go stay at a monastery for a few days.

    I think there is much to the simple way they live. I have these four monk beliefs taped to my kitchen cabinets, because they so perfectly tie into my work at a mama:

    Pay attention.
    One thing at a time.
    Listen while you work.
    Everything is a miracle.

  9. I'm not sure what Abba Paphnutius means by advising people not to judge themselves. After all, we are called to "examine" ourselves, as in 1 Corinthians 11, where Paul writes about the Lord's Supper. In fact, the NASB renders v. 31 this way: "But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged."

    By "judgment," though, perhaps the monks mean "condemnation" as Matthew commented earlier. That makes sense to me because for the believer, there is no condemnation. It is satan who tells us to condemn (deny hope to) ourselves.

    BTW, it's taken me decades to realize that "other people's conscience" is NOT on my job description. I love the way your teacher phrased it!

  10. Simple and right on! loved how your teacher summarized it. That I can remember. My mama would always tell us, Don't judge. so I have heard this all my life but so hard not to, isn't it?

  11. I think the judgment subject is too broadly painted in definition...We ARE called to examine ourselves and our lives as janice said above...after all, God is so very holy. God doesn't embrace sin...ever. As your SS teacher said...we aren't God...but there is plenty in 1 Jn. alone to show that we are to encourage and point our brothers and sisters back to Christ if they fall into darkness. God DOES judge sin...people who don't repent of it DO go to my Bible that's a very REAL place. If we point to him...he will do that work in their hearts. Sometimes just shining your own life (in love) can be all it takes.

  12. I love this one... "Wherever you go, do not judge yourself and you will be at peace." The message God has given me over the last couple of years is to believe the best of others... not judging is believing the best and the result has been peace. It's really true. Thanks for sharing these with us Jen!

  13. I think there is a difference between walking in judgment against oneself and examining oneself. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, yes, and we are called to repent of our sin. However, we don't have to walk in condemnation, which is where I think the self-judging comes in. If we continue to judge ourselves after we are forgiven, we are walking in condemnation, not grace.

  14. "So let's not do it"...that's great!!

  15. I agree... we sense conviction, examine ourselves, repent -- and then, since we are forgiven, quit beating ourselves up. Jen, the way you phrase it, that "we don't have to walk in condemnation," pulls it all together for me.

    Being forgiven changes everything.


Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.