Al Chet

Elul 12

And for the sin which we have committed before You

in passing judgment.


Is it really necessary to stand, beat our chests and confess the passing of judgement as a sin? Why is this considered an offense unto the Lord? When you see something or someone in the wrong, should you not speak out and judge the situation?


Over the years I have seen and experienced the effect judgements can have on relationships, families, and congregations. Usually the one passing judgement means well, and is speaking out in concern for the situation and the people involved. However, when this ‘speaking out’ evolves into claiming moral superiority or becoming overly critical, we find ourselves in a place we do not belong.


Matthew 7:2 says: “ For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


This is why we stand once a year on Yom Kippur, forced to confront our own shortcomings in this area. We take responsibility for passing judgement on others, while hopelessly failing ourselves. On this day we are given the opportunity to do introspection and repent from placing ourselves morally above others, while only our Lord belongs on that seat. It is quite the exercise in humility, to receive Abba’s grace and forgiveness over our own unforgiving posture towards others. How blessed we are that our Lord does not judge us like we judge others sometimes, even though He has all power and authority to do so. 


Holy and Righteous One, the Righteous Judge, I come before You humbly, confessing the times that I have passed judgement on others from a place of self-righteousness. Show me how to respond in the grace and compassion that is so much a part of Your character. Help me to recognize when it is time to confront, but may I always do so in love, guiding them to hear Your voice on the matter instead of my opinion. Help me to know when to keep my mouth closed, and when my heart-thoughts require correction in this matter. Thank You for being gracious to forgive me for my ungraciousness.