The scriptures say “Judge not that ye be not judged”. But how can that apply in my life?
When I was in college I had a crush on a guy. I was totally smitten! He rejected me, and 5 minutes later I was smitten with someone else. But in the recovery time I remember sitting in church and a speaker discussing how we are not to judge others. God is the only fair judge because He knows all. And that if we are going to judge others, we are risking His anger. I remember listening and being very put out. I was so angry with my former crush and felt totally justified in judging him! I also felt justified in burning his picture, bad mouthing him to all who would listen, and doing my best to make his life miserable. I know; how very Christian of me. But the words of the speaker burned into my heart and wouldn’t leave me alone. I am deeply flawed, and I know it. I desperately need all the leniency the Lord will show me if I have any hope of getting to live with Him again one day. And in that moment I realized that my favorite way of punishing this unfortunate boy was going to have to stop. I was hurting myself by holding in the anger- because I had to remember I was angry with him every time I saw him to react appropriately in my little world. And I had to remember to stay angry when anyone else mentioned his name so I could put him down. So in this case my judgment was poisoning me, whether or not my intended target even noticed.
The Lord is so good to us to teach us principles a little at a time. That was the first time I remember learning about not judging so I would not be judged by the Lord. A few years later I learned the lesson a little more deeply. One of my dearest friends in college suffered a terrible family tragedy. Her father killed himself. Now everyone in Christianity has been taught that suicide is a sin- a very serious one. That suicide ends your mission on earth prematurely. But when this sweet girl lost her father, I learned something even more profound. This man had been fighting depression and despondency for years. And the day he took his own life, he just couldn’t see how to keep fighting. I could judge him as weak, but the Lord sees differently. The Lord saw the years of struggle, and all the circumstances of this man from before he was even born. Only He is in a place to really understand and judge this man’s actions. And how harsh and painful would my judgment have been to my friend who was already hurting so much? In that experience I learned a bit more deeply why we shouldn’t judge. We hurt those who are already hurting when we do. And then we are deserving of the Lord’s harsh judgment ourselves.
I have to admit I have learned this lesson many different ways. And currently I am learning a new angle; a new reason for this commandment. The whole gay marriage thing is at the forefront of many minds lately. And even though I don’t know how to align my love for my gay friends with my love for the Lord, this commandment clears things up for me 100%. In His command to “Judge not that ye be not judged” God is telling me that it’s not my business. It’s not my business to try to understand all the angles. It’s not my job to decide which side is right. It is only my job to love my friends, love my neighbors as myself, and step back and let God be the judge. It is my job to reach out in love and be supportive of all families in any shape or size. It is the first time that not judging has been so freeing! I can find joy in the happiness of others, and just be full of love for them. I still have the responsibility to keep God’s commandments, but I don’t have to do more than love those who may not see things as I do. So I encourage you to do the same. It’s a wonderful feeling; this not judging. And even though there are going to be more lessons in my life, more angles the Lord will show me, these three are pretty huge.
So to have a quick recap: 1- We shouldn’t judge because it poisons us as we try to hold onto all that righteous anger. 2- We shouldn’t judge because in doing so we hurt those who have already been hurt by the sin or circumstance. And 3- we shouldn’t judge because in not judging we are free to keep the Lord’s first and greatest commandment- to Love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It will all get straightened out in the end. I know there are things the Lord sees, things He understands that we never will in this life. And if we can just remember not to judge, then our lives will be that much sweeter for it.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.