Jesus lamented that too many people had eyes to see, but did not see (Mark 8:18). The early Christians believed that one manifestation of spiritual blindness was judgmentalism.
When healed by grace, restored spiritual eyesight would see possibilities in other people. Treating them in terms of their potential would more likely bring it out than treating them according to their failures, mistakes, and sins. Abba Anthony once called his brother, Abba Paphnutius, who had the ability to see and call forth the best in others, a “true man, who can heal souls and save them.”
Isn’t this what each of us is called to do? And isn’t this what we desire to do in our relationships with others? Don’t we want to be known as those who heal souls and save others? Well then, we must pray for eyes to see, so that a spirit of judgmentalism can be replaced by a spirit that sees the possibilities in people and situations.
Our early Christian predecessors believed that the devil tempted them precisely by enticing them to judge others, deceiving those who did so into believing they were agents of righteousness, when they were actually instruments breeding confusion and contention. Abba Mark spent thirty years fending off that temptation, always striving to see potential in those who came to him for counsel and blessing.
Everyone we meet is (as we are ourselves) a mixture of positives and negatives. There is none righteous, no not one. This means that we have the choice, in every encounter, to focus on the negatives or on the positives. Only God sees the whole and sees it correctly. We are invited to join with the Holy Spirit in recognizing the good in others and treating them as God’s beloved daughters and sons. It is in this environment where growth happens and change can occur.