World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson


Judge Not

Scripture cautions us not to be harsh and judgmental of others' faults, even where they are evident, because neither are we perfect and free from error. The admonition not to regard the speck in your neighbor's eye before removing the log from your own eye finds parallels in many scriptures. Rather than justify ourselves and blame others, we should look into ourselves for having such feelings of resentment. We should look into ourselves for where we may have been at fault, and from that starting point we can sincerely strive for reconciliation.

The vile are ever prone to detect the faults of others, though they be as small as mustard seeds, and persistently shut their eyes against their own, though they be as large as Vilva fruit.

Hinduism. Garuda Purana 112

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

Christianity. Matthew 7.1-5

A man holding a basket of eggs does not dance on stones.

African Traditional Religions. Buji Proverb (Nigeria)

Easily seen are others' faults, hard indeed to see are one's own. Like chaff one winnows others' faults, but one's own one hides, as a crafty fowler conceals himself by camouflage.

He who sees others' faults is ever irritable--his corruptions grow. He is far from the destruction of the corruptions.

Buddhism. Dhammapada 252-53

Happy is the person who finds fault with himself instead of finding fault with others.

Islam. Hadith

If you want to criticize someone, first criticize yourself more than three times.

Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon, 9-30-69

Confucius said, "The gentleman calls attention to the good points in others; he does not call attention to their defects. The small man does just the reverse of this."

Confucianism. Analects 12.16

Confucius said, "The good man does not grieve that other people do not recognize his merits. His only anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs."

Confucianism. Analects 1.16

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God; as it is written,

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to God.

So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

Christianity. Romans 14.10-12

Hadith: Cf. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 12, p. 612. Analects 12.16: Cf. Analects 12.21, p. 631; Doctrine of the Mean 14, p. 590; Tao Te Ching 79, p. 850. Analects 1.16: Cf. Analects 15.20, pp. 589f.

He who treads the Path in earnest Sees not the mistakes of the world; If we find fault with others We ourselves are also in the wrong. When other people are in the wrong, we should ignore it, For it is wrong for us to find fault. By getting rid of this habit of fault-finding We cut off a source of defilement. When neither hatred nor love disturb our mind Serenely we sleep.

Buddhism. Sutra of Hui Neng 2

Why should you try to mend The failings of the world, sirs? Correct your bodies first, each one of you! Correct your minds first, each one! Lord Shiva does not approve of Those who shed crocodile tears To their neighbor's grief.

Hinduism. Basavanna, Vachana 24

Censuring others and praising himself, concealing good qualities present in others and proclaiming noble qualities absent in himself, he causes them to have low status. Disparaging himself and praising others, proclaiming qualities which are present in others and not proclaiming those that are absent in himself, with humility and modesty he lifts them to high status. No obstacle should be created in the [spiritual] development of others.

Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 6.25-27

Do not judge thy comrade until thou hast stood in his place.

Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 2.5

Early in the morning [Jesus] came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

Christianity. John 8.2-11

Sutra of Hui Neng 2: Cf. Tao Te Ching 79, p. 850. Abot 2.5: A saying of Hillel (lst. c. <B.C.E.). John 8.2-11: According to tradition, Jesus wrote on the ground the sins of each accuser.


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