top of page

Judge Responsibility, Not Guilt. That is the Lord's

Twenty-first Sunday Ordinary Time

August 21, 2022 •

This is an important distinction: the difference between guilt and responsibility. You can be responsible and guilty at the same time. You can be responsible and not guilty. But if you're guilty, you're always responsible.

It's in understanding the relationship and differences between these two things that helps us understand how judgements should be made against individuals who are responsible. . . .

If you're the one - the actor, the mover - in regards to any action, you're responsible. . . .

Justice follows a simple law of physics. For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. If I perform an act, there is a natural reaction that should take place. If the act is unjust, then something has to make it just. Something has to correct the imbalance. . . .

As Christians, we're given a very specific directive from our Lord. It's okay to judge, He's going to judge us all one day. It's okay to judge according to His terms. His Truth.

There's right and wrong. There are rules. You break them, you get punished. If you're willing to accept that punishment it becomes discipline and helps you grow in virtue. If not, it's punishment and you deserve it.

Ultimately, that's the reason for hell. The damned don't want to be redeemed. You see, not all punishment is remedial. But the Lord wants it to be.

So in our judgements of ourselves and of others, we need to be careful not to equate or confuse responsibility and guilt. If I perform the action that is offensive or wrong, I am responsible. I need to take responsibility for that on myself and perform actions to correct what I have done.

But, I should not presume to judge my own guilt, let alone yours. When our Lord says "judge not, lest ye be judged", that's what He's referring to: guilt. Not responsibility. You have to judge responsibility; yours and other all the time.

We as Christians don't judge guilt. We leave that to the Lord.

That's why even when someone has committed a crime, or committed a sin, or done something wrong, we treat them with dignity because we don't know their guilt. Though correction or discipline is necessary in those circumstances. . . .

But I don't need to worry about guilt. I need to be responsible. I go to confession, whether I judge my guilt or not. I repent because I am responsible. But I leave the judgement of my soul up to God. That's what we should do.

We know we are responsible for the punishment due to sin. This is why our Lord asks us to bear certain crosses in our life: to make up for these sins. Even if we're guiltless, we still have a responsibility.

Jesus' cross was obvious, not because of any guilt He had. Jesus was guiltless. But in becoming a man, He made Himself responsible for us. That's why He could take responsibility and suffer the punishment, even though He Himself was innocent. We as Christians can do the same thing. . . .

Who cares if you're responsible or not? Take up the responsibility. Do it freely. Just like Christ did for you.

Is 66:18-21; Ps 117:1, 2; Heb 12:5-7, 11-13; Lk 13:22-30

Due to technical issues, we were unable to stream this week's Mass. We apologize.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page