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 it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:37-38
There’s Jesus telling us not to judge, but judgment is such a basic part of being human. Baseball is full of judgments. The media illustrates that better than anything. If you’re doing well, the media tells you you’re great. And if you’re not doing well, the media tells you that too. Not only do they tell you you’re bad, they tell you why you’re bad. They tell you why you shouldn’t be there, and why you should be traded. They even question why the GM signed you!
Every baseball player is paid based on a judgment. I’m paid based on a positive judgment. And if they make a negative judgment, I don’t get re-signed. We’re full of these judgments. It’s a normal human thing.
You know what else it says there in Luke? It says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6: 27-28) But that’s nearly impossible for most human beings! Do we really pray for those that hate us? There is no way we do that. There’s no way that you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, you know what, this person hates me and I just pray that he or she is blessed today. Face it! We do not do that.
But there’s just a little more to this. As I study the scriptures on judgment, I realize that every time Jesus talks about judging, He immediately talks about hope and forgiveness, and how good things will happen. He says it in Luke: great things happen, pressed down, shaken, overflowing, all that stuff. Think about it: your blessings will come the less you judge!
I remember late September 2010. I wasn’t getting called into many games. I didn’t pitch for two weeks! I grew angry and frustrated, and then I read this scripture. It really hit me. I mean, I know these scriptures, and I know these things, but do I really pray for those that hate me? I don’t. It’s not a normal human thing to do. But we’re Christians. We’re called to more, right? So I prayed about this. I said, “I know it’s normal to judge, and I know it’s not normal to pray for those that hate me. But God, I am a child of the King. I am a new creature in Christ! So I have been reborn, I have been remade, my spirit now drives me, so truly, I have to strive to do these things.” And I remember walking the outfield, and praying for every guy on the team.
And then I remembered that my team is not made up of a bunch of believers that follow this guideline. So I really started listening. If someone judged a player or something negative was said about them, by the media or by another person, I would walk over to that player and I would just speak the opposite over them. I would basically give them a positive. Just randomly! Sometimes they didn’t know why I was doing it, because they hadn’t heard the judgment. But that’s not why I did it. I was just trying to pray and break up judgments off of every player on our team. And if I found myself accidentally judging again, I’d ask for forgiveness.
Did blessings flow from this? Well, remember Game 6 of the NLCS that year, in Philadelphia? I came into the game during the third inning with guys on base. There were no outs, and the heart of the Phillies order was coming up. And I held the game at a tie, helping my team to clinch the Championship and go to the World Series, which we won. I’d call that blessing! See you Thursday.