Judge and Be Judged

In the late 1850s, Romanticism was the preferred style of art in Barcelona. Painter Pere Borrell del Caso, however, preferred the Realistic style. His painting, Escaping Criticism, is an example of that style. His forced perspective, from the hand grasping the outer edge of the painted frame to the shadowed rear leg, we are hard-pressed to remember we are looking at a two-dimensional image.

Critics have perceived that Borrell painted this scene as a reaction to the criticism he received from his fellow artists because he chose to forge his own path and style. Can’t you just see the wonder in the eyes of this barefoot boy with the wild hair. Perhaps he has discovered the freedom one gets when one moves past the criticism that hems one in.

One of the daily devotions I read every morning is Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest. This is what Chambers has to say about criticizing others:

“Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, ‘Don’t.’ The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and he alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood.

“If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own. Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself. Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.”

Being Human connection: If you tend to be critical, maybe these words can sink in. If you are on the receiving end of criticism, remember no one is in the position to judge but your Lord.

Featured art: Pere Borrell del Caso, Escape from Criticism, 1874, Collection Banco de España, Madrid

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” -Matthew 7:3-5