We are blessed when we can show, understanding, kindness, and love to those who are struggling.Â Â Blessings, GarÂ "If ever you make a mistake of judgment, let it be on the side of mercy." â€”Joseph Fielding Smith
Â Judge Not and Be Blessed
There are many times when it is easier to pass judgment on someone for his or her peculiarities than to patiently wait until the moment arrive when understanding enlightens our mind.
For instance, the first time I met a man [Robert] who was severely socially limited, I acted very cold and discriminating and wondered why he just couldnâ€™t be quiet.Â My uneasy feeling was the result of my limited understanding of him.Â It was a feeling that I didnâ€™t want to have, and I prayed for an understanding heart.Â
I began to look for the good in Robert and for ways that I could serve him and help him in life.Â The social limitations never changed for him.Â He always appeared to others as a social misfit, while I could see his greater qualities. Furthermore, he had a true friend in me that would never change.Â After a time, his social limitations became the reason why others accepted him and wanted to serve him as well. Following several years of serving my friend, he passed away, but the experience of learning how to be accepting of oneâ€™s differences had made a big difference in my life.Â I will be forever grateful to my friend for what he taught me as I struggled to overcome my own critical peculiarities.Â
Following is part of a 1972 General Conference talk given by Elder Tanner who counsels on Satan's trap of judging others.
Â â€śThe reason, therefore, that we cannot judge is obvious. We cannot see what is in the heart. We do not know motives, although we impute motives to every action we see. They may be pure while we think they are improper.
It is not possible to judge another fairly unless you know his desires, his faith, and his goals. Because of a different environment, unequal opportunity, and many other things, people are not in the same position. One may start at the top and the other at the bottom, and they may meet as they are going in opposite directions. Someone has said that it is not where you are but the direction in which you are going that counts; not how close you are to failure or success but which way you are headed. How can we, with all our weaknesses and frailties, dare to arrogate to ourselves the position of a judge? At best, man can judge only what he sees; he cannot judge the heart or the intention, or begin to judge the potential of his neighbor.
When we try to judge people, which we should not do, we have a great tendency to look for and take pride in finding weaknesses and faults, such as vanity, dishonesty, immorality, and intrigue. As a result, we see only the worst side of those being judged.
Our news media today also seem to be interested mainly in controversial subjects or someone who is being attacked; and regardless of the ninety-nine good things one may do, it is the one weakness or error that alone is emphasized and heralded to the world.
We are too prone to listen to, accept, and repeat such adverse criticism, such maliciously spoken or printed words, without stopping to realize the harm we may be doing to some noble person; and, as is done so often, we excuse and justify ourselves by saying, â€śWell, where there is so much smoke, there must be some fire,â€ť whereas in reality we are adding to the smoke, when the fire referred to may be only the fire of malice started by some envious person.
Sometimes even when our friends are accused of wrongdoing or gossip is started about them, we disloyally accept and repeat what we hear without knowing all the facts. It is sad indeed that sometimes friendships are destroyed and enmity created based on misinformation.
If there is one place in life where the attitude of the agnostic [unconvinced] is acceptable, it is in this matter of judging. It is the courage to say, â€śI donâ€™t know. I am waiting for further evidence. I must hear both sides of the question.â€ť
Only by suspending judgment do we exhibit real charity. It is hard to understand why we are ready to condemn our neighbors and our friends on circumstantial evidence while we are all so determined to see that every criminal has a fair and open trial. Surely, we can try to eliminate pride, passion, personal feeling, prejudice, and pettiness from our minds, and show charity to those around us.
Let us look for the good rather than try to discover any hidden evil. We can easily find fault in others if that is what we are looking for. Even in families, divorce has resulted and families have been broken up because the husband or wife was looking for and emphasizing the faults rather than loving and extolling the virtues of the other.
Let us remember too that the further out of line or out of tune we ourselves are, the more we are inclined to look for error or weaknesses in others and to try to rationalize and justify our own faults rather than to try to improve ourselves. Almost invariably, we find that the greatest criticism of Church leaders and doctrine comes from those who are not doing their full duty, following the leaders, or living according to the teachings of the gospel.
An outstanding example of this can be found in the story of Cain and Abel. Cain neglected his own stewardship and became so bitter over Abelâ€™s righteousness and favor in the eyes of the Lord that his insane jealousy caused him to murder his brother. How much better would his situation have been had he congratulated and honored his brother and set about to improve himself and correct his own failings.
Let us examine our own lives and actions, bring ourselves in tune with righteous principles, and never attack or spread misinformation about others.
Gossip is the worst form of judging. The tongue is the most dangerous, destructive, and deadly weapon available to man. A vicious tongue can ruin the reputation and even the future of the one attacked. Insidious attacks against oneâ€™s reputation, loathsome innuendoes, half-lies about an individual are as deadly as those insect parasites that kill the heart and life of a mighty oak. They are so stealthy and cowardly that one cannot guard against them. As someone has said, â€śIt is easier to dodge an elephant than a microbe.â€ť
What a different world it would be if we would put into practice what we have all heard so many times: â€śâ€¦ whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.â€ť (Matt. 7:12.) Instead, we are all so inclined to judge others by a standard different from the one by which we would wish or be willing to be judged.
When the woman accused of adultery was brought before Christ, he was indignant because of the accusersâ€™ injustice. They were wanting the woman to be judged on the basis of standards different from those by which they were willing to be judged and on a matter of which some were guilty.
He said: â€śHe that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.â€ť Then, after stooping and writing in the sand, he looked up and said, â€śâ€¦ where are those thine accusers?â€ť (John 8:7, 10.)
If Jesus were to stand by and be asked to judge those whom we accuse and should say to us, â€śHe that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,â€ť and then should stoop and write in the sand, how many of us would feel to steal away ashamed, convicted in our own conscience? How sound is his counsel!
If we could accept and practice the second great commandment, â€śThou shall love thy neighbour as thyselfâ€ť (Matt. 22:39), and really learn to love our neighbors, there would be no vicious gossip or bearing false witness. In the Lordâ€™s prayer, we have these words: â€śAnd forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,â€ť and then he says: â€śFor if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.â€ť (Matt. 6:12, 14â€“15.)
Christ is our greatest example of forgiveness. To the woman brought before him accused of adultery, he said, â€śNeither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.â€ť (John 8:11.)
Then on the cross he prayed: â€śFather, forgive them; for they know not what they do.â€ť (Luke 23:34.)
Regardless of our ego, our pride, or our feeling of insecurity, our lives would be happier, we would be contributing more to social welfare and the happiness of others, if we would love one another, forgive one another, repent of our wrongdoings, and judge not.
It is true that we must have appointed judges to deal with the laws of the land and judges in the Church to deal with its members; and they are given the heavy duty and responsibility of judging, which they must not neglect, but they must give righteous judgment according to the law of the land and of the Church.
This being election year, there will be much campaigning; we will hear and argue the pros and cons of many questions; we will have strong opposing views. Each must try to understand the questions and then stand firm by his convictions. But let us determine now that in the heat of the campaign we will not indulge in the vituperative [abusive] talk of personalities that we so often hear. We must not rail against our brother and accuse him of lying and cheating or being dishonest or immoral.
Let us stand on principleâ€”high principle. Also, it is most important that all of us, including our politicians, strive to live so that our actions will be above reproach and criticism.
We never gain anything or improve our own character by trying to tear down another. We have seen close friendships destroyed through words spoken and accusations made in the heat of a campaign. Tirades against men in office or against oneâ€™s opponent tend to cause our youth and others to lose faith in the individual and others in government and often even our form of government itself.
As parents, we have the responsibility in our homes to guard against any of these things. Also, we must realize that every word and every act influences the thinking and attitude of the child. It is in the family that the child picks up the elementary lessons in getting along with people and the virtues of love, compassion, and concern. These lessons will have been well taught if parents can bring up their children without prejudicing them by precept or example against any other children on the grounds of color, race, religion, social status, or intellectual capacity, and if they teach them to love the Lord. I am so thankful that my parents, through their tolerance, were able to accomplish this with their children.
May I humbly say in all sincerity that I love the Lord with all my heart and that I love my fellowmen. I hold no hard feelings of any kind toward any man, and I sincerely pray for forgiveness wherein I have offended anyone. I realize, as the Savior said, â€śInasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.â€ť (Matt. 25:40.)
To all the world, and especially to those who do not understand but who ridicule the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I wish to bear my witness and issue a challenge that you judge not until you know and understand those teachings which are contained in the restored gospel. We believe, with you, that God lives and that Jesus Christ is his Only, but truly, Begotten Son in the flesh, who came and gave his life and was resurrected so that all mankind might enjoy immortality.
He said, â€śâ€¦ this is my work and my gloryâ€”to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of manâ€ť (Moses 1:39), and he gave us the gospel plan by which we can prepare ourselves to go back into his presence and enjoy eternal life.
Yes, the gospel in its fullness is restored and is here upon the earth today. I bear witness that the Bible is the word of God, given to us through his prophets, and also that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is a translated and true record of Godâ€™s dealings with the ancient American people, containing the gospel in its fullness. It was written by way of commandment and also by the spirit of prophecy and by revelation, to the convincing of the Jew and the gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.
I also wish to bear testimony that I know that  Joseph Fielding Smith, the President of the Church, is a prophet of God through whom the Lord speaks, and I express my sincere and deep appreciation for the opportunity I have of working so closely with him.
These things I know, and I humbly bear my testimony that they are true; and I invite and encourage each and every one of you to investigate and to read the Book of Mormon, to test and enjoy the promise contained therein, which is:
â€śAnd when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
â€śAnd by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.â€ť (Moro. 10:4â€“5.)
This promise, and my testimony, I leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
Tags: Service Love Charity Kindness RuntoTomorrow Mercy