Friday, February 26, 2016

Judge Not

This week I read 3 Nephi 14:1-5 which is part of Jesus' sermon at the Temple where He is counseling the Nephites not to judge others. I found a great article by Dallin H. Oaks (click here to read it) that explained how this commandment goes with other instances in the scriptures where Jesus tells us that we should judge.

This statement by Elder Oaks really stood out to me:

"...we must refrain from making final judgments on people because we lack the knowledge and the wisdom to do so. We would even apply the wrong standards. The world’s way is tjudge competitively between winners and losers. The Lord’s way of final judgment will be to apply His perfect knowledge of the law person has received and to judge on the  basis of that person’s circumstances, motives, and actions throughout his or her entire  life."

I know that a lot of times we hear people (or catch ourselves) saying that someone is "bad" or "evil" or "worthless," generally because of some unacceptable behavior that has been observed. I find it comforting to know that Jesus won't just look at one instance of bad behavior and condemn us forever. He knows not only our thoughts and the intents of our hearts, but He also knows and understands the particular challenges we face and those things that handicap us and contribute to bad behavior. He doesn't judge us solely on how we act, but also by who are are, who we are trying to become, and by every moment of our life that has affected us for good or bad. He won't excuse sins or bad behavior when we know what we are doing or when we are too lazy or rebellious to try to change, but He has an infinite amount of mercy and grace to make up for our shortcomings when we accept Him and do our best to follow Him. 

I love that He isn't going to compare me to anyone else. I don't have to compete with anyone but myself. I don't have to worry about being a loser- because I have Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer, I am already a winner. We all are. I think we lose sight of that far too often. 

It's not our job to pass final judgment on someone else. As long as they are still alive, there's still hope for them. Besides, we can't read thoughts or feel someone else's feelings, so who's to say that we are really any better than they are? It seems to be human nature to judge, compare, compete, and categorize, and I am thankful that Jesus made a point of teaching us to push away those natural tendencies and to focus on fixing what's wrong with us instead. That makes sense, since ultimately we are the only ones we have the power to change. And when we change ourselves, we change our world. 

1 comment:

Stephanie Turner said...

:) And even after we die...there is still room for improvement.