Today’s post is a little different from my others in form, but certainly not in content or validity. When you first read it you might wonder how it fits into this month’s doctrine from Come Follow Me, but ponder on it and I think you’ll agree it has a place in every doctrine and principle taught in the Church. It’s consumed my thoughts for a month now and I know it’s something every single one of us has experienced or felt at one point or another. Let me add, I only know a small percentage of the readers of this blog. In fact, I bet I could count those individuals on one hand. It means a lot to me that each of you, with varying religious practices and beliefs, are trying to live their lives the best way they can and taking time to read this blog. Thank you. That thought is really quite humbling to me. Although we do not know each other on a personal level, our beliefs unite and make us the same. We believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. We look to him as our example in all things. So really, when you think about it, we are more alike than different, we have more in common than not, and each one of us have the ability to make things better in the world. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice has enabled us with the power to do it. We must use that strength every day and make a difference – We are the difference!
A few weeks ago I noticed something as I was pulling out of the Lone Peak High School parking lot. I know I’ve seen it a thousand times before, but today it hit me. The word “JUDGING” spelled out with stickers and stuck to the STOP sign. (I wonder if it was the same individual whom at another popular STOP sign in Highland put the name “Voldemort.” I honestly laugh every time I stop there.) But after that momentary stop, I was compelled to share something. Utah is a place numbered with so many GOOD people. Truly, if there was one society – one population of non-judgmental people it should be here! Yet it still exists. You’re judged if you’re successful, you’re judged if you’re a failure or have had a run of bad luck. You’re judged if you ask too much help from others and you’re judged if you don’t ask for enough. You’re judged if you’re too happy and you’re judged if you’re depressed or withdrawn. You’re judged if your kids make good decisions and appear “perfect,” but you’re also judged if they struggle and have gone astray. Maybe we all need to be reminded of President Uchdorf’s wise words – “STOP IT!”
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven? . . .
The people around us are not perfect (see Romans 3:23). People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way.
Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way. (Read, watch, or listen to the entire talk.)
Some of you may be familiar with Dale Partridge, a well-known blogger. He put it this way, “Every human life is worth exactly the same. And any action or behavior or statement that leads anyone to believe otherwise, is wrong. Culture encourages us to discuss other people’s faults. To tear each other down based on looks or the mistakes of our past. But are we not human? Have we not failed as well? Is determining someone’s worth not more than the clothes they wear or the scars on their life? It reminds me of a statement I’ve read in the Bible, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
I couldn’t let the day pass without sharing this…maybe it will help you change the way you truly “see” others today.
Teaching Tip: Write down a few questions before class begins that invite discussion and personal experience based on judging. For example, What do the scriptures teach about judging others? How might judging someone stall or stop your efforts in making friends or caring for those around you? What can we learn from the Savior’s example about not judging others?
Photo Handout (PDF): Stop it
Now go and do!