I don’t get many readers over the weekend, and consequently I’ve begun to feel like some of my more elabourately wrought posts are a bit wasted of a Saturday or Sunday. That feeling, coupled with the fact that this has been one of the busiest Sundays of recent memory, preceded by a Saturday that didn’t allow enough time to prepare a post ahead of time, has conspired to produce this: a simple reposting of something I found interesting and spiritually beneficial on another website. From Fr James Thornton, ‘Who Art Thou That Judgest?: Sermon on the Epistle of St Paul to the Romans (13:11-14:4), Forgiveness Sunday (Cheesefare Sunday)’ (here; from Quickened with Christ: Sermons on the Sunday Epistle Readings of the Orthodox Year [Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 2004], pp. 51-56):
We are repeatedly warned as Christians not to judge other men and women. Does this require that we completely abandon our critical faculties when it comes to our dealings with other people? If we should know of a man who is a notorious embezzler, do we do right in judging him unfit to be the custodian of the public treasury? If we should encounter a man whom we know to be a psychopathic murderer, do we properly judge it unwise to invite him over to dinner? The answer to both questions, obviously, is yes.
Let us take some less extreme and more likely examples. If we learn that a particular friend or companion exerts an unhealthy influence on us as Christians, or if we believe that a friend or companion of our children may lead those children astray, may we make the appropriate judgment in those cases and terminate such associations? Again, the answer is yes. Of course we may do that. We would be held accountable by Christ for not making these kinds of judgments.
What we are forbidden as Christians to do is to judge another person's ultimate state before God, or to employ our critical faculties to enhance, in our own minds, our own rank or station or footing, in what we fancy are the eyes of God, at the expense of another human being. We are forbidden, in other words, to regard ourselves as ‘holy’ by comparison with someone we regard as ‘sinful’.