In Luke’s gospel (6: 36-38 we read: “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.  Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven.  Give and there will be gifts for you, a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap, because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.”

As is the case for Sacred Scripture generally, this passage can be misinterpreted. It is not about judgment, certainly not in the sense of being a universal injunction against making judgments.  It is impossible for us not to make judgments.  As rational beings we naturally do three things. We apprehend things.  We mentally grasp x and y.  We judge. We put things we grasp together, x is y or x is not y.   We reason. We arrange our judgments in order to come to a conclusion.

Unfortunately, some of the judgments we make are rightly called rash judgments. Rash judgments are marked by or proceeding from undue haste or lack of deliberation or caution. Rash judgments are pernicious.  They close one’s mind to the truth.  They can subvert even destroy trust and friendship.   When involving persons and deliberately embraced they constitute a failure against charity.

It can happen that after making a judgment about a person or situation we learn something we did not know when making the judgment and we realize our judgment has been rash, perhaps uncharitable, even sinful.  Remembering an old Indian admonition can be helpful in avoided rash judgments. “Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.

In reflecting on that passage in Luke’s gospel it is important to realize that the phrases “do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven,” are not to be understood as though it were a matter of bartering.   This especially clear in the matter of forgiving.  It is not as though when we forgive an offense God in turn offers his forgiveness or when we are unforgiving God withholds his forgiveness.  God’s mercy and forgiveness are unchanging and ever available.  Rather it is the case that when we forgive we open ourselves to God’s forgiveness and conversely when we are unforgiving we render ourselves incapable of receiving forgiveness.
Taking that passage of Luke’s gospel as a whole it becomes clear it is not so much about judgment as about compassion and generosity.