Scripture Reading: John 9:1-41
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’ –John 9:13-17
How do we judge others? We do it all the time. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have little categories nicely arranged in our brains in which we can quickly slot situations or people. Most of us were probably taught not to be judgmental in the negative sense of the word characterized by a tendency to judge people harshly*. Using our judgment is essential in all aspects of life. For example, we make a judgment call when we try to discern how to help someone.
Our scripture today illustrates judgment based on strict rules regarding working on the Sabbath. If one did not observe the Sabbath in the way taught by the religious leaders of the day, one was not from God. Strict rules, I guess, make decision making easier but are opened to interpretation. It is always interesting to me how rules apply to some but not to all. Jesus came to show a different way, a new way, and a very old way, a way that promoted wanting the very best for others as we want for ourselves. I do not know which is harder.
Who would not want a person born blind to gain the gift of sight whether it was the Sabbath or not? Apparently, those who base their personal worth on their ability to obey laws. Their self-image results from what others think of them. It does not result from their being a child of God. Perhaps we just do not want to accept that all humans are children of God, made in God’s image. We denigrate ourselves when we denigrate any other, and we denigrate our Creator.
Prayer: Lord, help us to see your image in the other as well as in our mirror. Amen.