Lent 2012: Day Seventeen

John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.

“We routinely disqualify testimony that would plead for extenuation. That is, we are so persuaded of the rightness of our judgement as to invalidate evidence that does not confirm us in it. Nothing that deserves to be called truth could ever be arrived at by such means.”

– Marilynne Robinson, “The Death of Adam”

The context to this verse from the Gospel of John: some of the people are astonished to find Jesus teaching whilst a religious festival, on the Sabbath, was taking place. He criticises them for telling him he cannot heal a man’s body on the Sabbath, whilst they can cut a bit of someone off (circumcision) on the Sabbath. Do not judge me by appearance, Jesus says. Do not blindly judge me. Look at the bigger picture. Judge with right judgement. Do not make assumptions, and do not stick to a law that you don’t actually stick to anyway.

I like this passage. Eradicating stereotypes, looking at the bigger picture, thinking before we act, before we speak, before we judge. We need to be open at looking at things in another way. For me though, one thing is fundamental: Love. The Gospels are written in Greek, a language I’m currently in the early stages of studying. And rather beautifully, the Greek language has four distinct words for love (read more here):

    1. Agápe (ἀγάπη) – selfless, unconditional love.
    2. Éros (ἔρως) – intimate love, leading one closer to the transcendent.
    3. Philía (φιλία) – friendship, loyal love.
    4. Storgē (στοργή) – affectionate love.

John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.

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