For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
During the last two years, I have blogged extensively throughout the Bloggernacle - and one of the things that has jumped out at me more forcefully than perhaps anything else is how rarely this simple verse seems to be understood in the context of internet communication. I read derogatory comments that include characterizations of others' personal righteousness - or condemnatory, sharp statements to others' comments - or dismissive, rude responses and ridicule. Often, it is obvious that there is a judgment being made - and that such a judgment is not one motivated by charity.
I have a foundation rule when it comes to how I try to comment. I try before submitting any comment to stop and re-read it with the following question in mind:
How would I react if someone else had typed this comment in response to something I wrote?
A related question is:
Does this comment make a personal judgment about the person to whose comment I'm replying - or does it focus solely on what has been written?
I believe what we write in our internet communication shows as clearly as anything else how well we have internalized the admonition to judge not, that we be not judged. I also believe it shows how deeply we believe that we will be judged the same way we judge others - and I think that of the two concepts (not judging and receiving reciprocal judgment) the latter (receiving reciprocal judgment) actually is the more fundamental of the two.
In other words, I believe understanding the reciprocal nature of eternal judgment can keep us from judging others FAR more effectively at first than simply believing we shouldn't judge others. Simply believing we shouldn't judge is the higher law, but most people need to understand the reciprocal nature of eternal judgment in order to begin to internalize being non-judgmental.
I try to be charitable initially because I wanted others to be charitable toward me, but I have moved beyond that initial motivation and now try to be charitable because I want to be charitable for its own sake. Most internet communication I read, however, even much of what I read in the Bloggernacle, simply isn't charitable - but rather judgmental. Given Matthew 7:2, that should be a concern to those whose comments I read - but I can't judge their level of understanding of that principle, so I can't judge them.
Oh, the irony.