Like many of you who were able to attend or watch the general Relief Society meeting last Saturday night, I loved listening to President Monson speak on charity at the close of the meeting. His remarks were loving, wise, and inspired. “Do [our] differences tempt us to judge one another?” asked President Monson. “Can we love one another if we judge each other? And I answer…No; we cannot.” He went on to say that charity is “the opposite of criticism and judging.”

Interestingly, I’d just prepared a lesson to teach the Beehives the next day, in which I was directed by the Supplemental Materials booklet to refer to the section entitled “Judging Others” in True to the Faith, which says, “Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that you should not condemn others or judge unrighteously, you will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout your lifetime. The Lord has given many commandments that you cannot keep without making judgments. You need to make judgments of people in many of your important decisions, such as choosing friends…and choosing an eternal companion” (p.90). The booklet goes on to caution us to use “great care” when making judgments and advises, “All your judgments must be guided by righteous standards.…Approach any judgment with care and compassion. Whenever possible, refrain from making judgments until you have an adequate knowledge of the facts” (90-91). The Supplemental Materials booklet then asked teachers to pose this question: “The world asks me to be tolerant of everyone’s actions and beliefs. In what circumstances does the Lord ask me to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people?” (p. 8).

Hmmm. Before President Monson spoke last Saturday, a friend and I happened to be talking about judging and she said, “Righteous judgment is essential to living a good life. Everyone judges, and to think otherwise is to deny reality. I think nowadays there is such an emphasis placed on tolerance and acceptance that any tiny amount of criticism is immediately pounced on as ‘judgment.’” Because our children sometimes accuse us of being judgmental (usually if we have concerns about the kinds of friends they are hanging out with), she and I have been discussing this topic on and off for some time, struggling to figure out when it’s appropriate to judge and what constitutes being judgmental.

So, I was a little taken aback after Saturday night’s meeting when my friend emailed me and said, “I know I’m going to hell. Not even in a hand basket. Here’s hoping it’s a dry heat.”

I’ve been thinking about her reaction to Pres. Monson’s talk, especially in conjunction with the lesson I taught my Beehives on Sunday, and I’m wondering how the rest of you feel. True, we all need to work on being less judgmental. Like all of you, I’ve been stung by others’ unkind (and incorrect) judgments of me, and I’ve done my share of unrighteous judging of others. I don’t think any of us is exempt from this human weakness. Ironically, I’ve even judged others for being self-righteous and judgmental. Around and around it goes. And it prevents us—all of us—from developing real, Christlike charity. So President Monson’s counsel was much needed and appropriate. But was he saying that we shouldn’t make judgments at all? I don’t think so.

So, here’s what I want to know: How do you define “righteous judgment?” Do you struggle with knowing the difference between exercising righteous judgment and being judgmental? Do you think, as my friend suggested before Pres. Monson’s talk, that sometimes we err too far on the side of tolerance for fear of appearing judgmental? And, finally, how do you interpret Pres. Monson’s counsel?

42 Comments

  1. cristie

    September 28, 2010

    I too came home from conference having my conscience pricked. I can be a better VT, and I want to develop greater charity.
    When I have the Spirit in my life my judgements are spot on. This council from Pres. Monson spoke volumes about kindness. Always in my heart I know when I am being kind or petty.
    Thus said, I won’t have trouble calling “a spade a spade.” My children need a wise mama.

  2. Claudia

    September 28, 2010

    This reminds me of the discussions over discrimination before it became illegal in many instances. Everyone discriminates we said. By discrimination its defenders meant make decisions. We discriminate when we choose our friends. We discriminate when we choose the style of our clothing, etc. etc. etc.

    All we have to do is to put the word judgement in place of discriminate and we are in the same place we were 40 years ago.

    I think the problem arises from the various connotations and meanings of these words. Being judgmental and setting oneself up as a judge or as better or more righteous than another is not the same thing as using reason to make a value judgment or a personal choice based on facts rather than bias, stereotypes or prejudice.

    That means we agree to disagree. We accept people even when we do not understand or agree with the life choices they make. We reserve judgment until we gain more knowledge and understanding of their situation. When we decide to take the kinder path in our dealings with others then we are coming closer to righteous judgment.

  3. jenny

    September 28, 2010

    I have been judged, and I have judged and I don’t like how either one feels. But, we must, as you have pointed out, make righteous judgements about things that will affect us. While President Monson was speaking, my mind went back to a sharing time lesson I recently taught. It was about things we should and shouldn’t do to our bodies. The conversation with the kids encompased modesty, word of wisdom, piercings and tattoos–guided by them. They talked about different scenarios and it was a good discussion, but at the end I pulled out a picture of a heavily tattooed person and asked them, “what would you do/think if you saw this person in the temple?” This stumped them and I got some of the answers that you might expect a child to come up with after the lesson that we’d just had, but my answer to them was this: “If you see this person in the temple, then he/she has done everything our Father in Heaven has asked of them to be worthy to be there.” I think this was an eye opener for some of them (as well as some of the teachers.) Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us.” I think that is the message of not being judgmental; we must look on the heart–not on outward appearance or circumstance. I am not blameless, but there is too much cattiness and clique-ishness among the women in the church–I think President Monson sees this and it must break his heart.

    (ps-please don’t let this comment lead to a tangent about tattoos! It was not my intent.)

  4. rk

    September 28, 2010

    I remember hearing a conference talk on this subject. I think it may have been by Elder Oaks. He said that we need to judge in some circumstances. We should focus on judging behavior rather than condemning or exalting an individual.

  5. liz

    September 28, 2010

    Comment #2 relates to what I was thinking — that sometimes the word is a problem. Judgement has come to mean something negative — perhaps we could think of necessary judgments instead as discernment, which to me means using the Spirit to make choices. Also, it’s helpful to think, what is my stewardship? I need to make decisions regarding myself and my children (which sometimes includes choosing appropriate friends, etc.), but if I’m judging something outside of that stewardship, it may not be a righteous judgment.

  6. marla

    September 28, 2010

    I found myself stifling the sobs… and then had to really ponder about how I am with this principle. Women have such a tendency sometimes to be catty. I know I don’t want to be one of those women. I want to be better than that… Love the quote from a few years ago from one of those meetings… “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity” -Margaret Dyreng Nadauld

  7. Jenni Lee

    September 28, 2010

    Marla, thank you for posting that quote. It summarizes beautifully.

  8. JLS

    September 28, 2010

    Just last April we had another conference talk on this topic:

    http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1207-33,00.html

    I taught a lesson on it for Relief Society and one principle that my dad mentioned to me as I prepared the lesson was that both sides of the coin – not judging others, and using good judgment are actually tools to draw us nearer to the Spirit and help us become more like our Savior. If we feel haughty or better than our neighbor in the judgment we are making of them, then probably it does not envelop the charity President Monson was speaking of. Likewise, if we find ourselves in inappropriate or uncomfortable situations that thereby drive the Spirit away, we probably haven’t excercised the good judgement that is expected of us. Being concious of the goal to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion is the best way to determine when to judge and when not to. Never should we condemn another with the “justification” that we are using good judgement.

  9. bth

    September 28, 2010

    I completely agree with Claudia and Marla’s ideas on this subject. President Monson illustrated the type of judging he was talking about in his story about the snotty lady in the auxiliary board who thought their priority seating was too good for the likes of Sister Monson. AND not only did that lady entertain those judgy thoughts, but she went a step further and whispered her disapproval loudly enough for Sister Monson to hear it.

    The judgemental woman syndrome is one of the reasons I felt uncomfortable when my bishop called me to be Relief Society president. (That, and being RSP is crazy time-consuming!) I’ve had far too many experiences with snotty remarks from ladies in my lifetime. I often joked with my husband during my time in Relief Society (usually during a “cat fight”) that I would have rather been called to be Elders Quorum president!

    Sometimes ladies can say and do very nasty things to each other. That’s what I think President Monson was speaking about.

  10. corktree

    September 28, 2010

    I tend to think we’re being asked not to make *snap* judgements of others. When we make an assessment (perhaps a better word – english really gets us in trouble sometimes) of someone, we should do it from a position of knowing them to the best of our ability. If we are just seeing someone in passing, we have no reason to judge them or how they will affect our life, and we should acknowledge that we can’t possibly know enough about them to judge their hearts based on anything we can see.

    But in cases where we have the need to *judge* because of how something or someone affects our own life (probably the only time this is appropriate) then we should make the best effort possible to get to know someone or a situation. This would have the added effect of getting to know people on the levels that allow us to care for them – which I would guess is what God wants of us. If we are careful to reserve our evaluations of people until we know them better, I would hope compassion would be a more natural companion to our verdicts.

  11. Katie

    September 28, 2010

    I definitely think “that sometimes we err too far on the side of tolerance for fear of appearing judgmental”, at least I do. I think the most important tool we’ve been given to help us make correct judgements at the right time, is the gift of discernment. Since we have the Holy Ghost, we have this gift of discernment. It can tell us what is right, and what is wrong, and it can help us to know when to at least limit our interaction with people or in situations that are not best for us. I think when we are taking advantage of this gift, then it’s much easier to make a righteous judgement that is about an issue or rather than about a person.

    I absolutely loved his words. I felt like he was protecting each and every one of us when he told us all not to judge others. It’s something that has been resonating in my mind every since.

  12. Kimberley Smith

    September 28, 2010

    I know it’s hard to figure out when you are using which one, but there is a difference between- using the power of discernment and judging someone. The power if discernment is a power God gives us to make good decisions about the challenges you mentioned.

  13. Red

    September 28, 2010

    I have been bumping up against this problem in Young Women’s and I think it’s instructive. Some of our young women have historically had “problems.” Pretty much all of the leaders know about their past (our ward is excruciatingly gossip-y). But while some leaders give the young women space to grow up and grow beyond their past problems and other leaders would clearly prefer to keep the young women categorized as “problems.”

    I think that’s one of the keys to judging wisely. It’s okay to choose righteously when given the full information, even in putting distance between yourself and the “problem.” It’s not okay to permanently or prematurely judge someone: this impedes and denies the power of the atonement in their life. If we really, truly believe in the power of the atonement, we must believe people can truly change. And we must be willing to retire a judgment we made in the past.

  14. JennR

    September 28, 2010

    That was a hard talk for me too. I felt ashamed that he even had to talk to us about it but knew that I needed to hear it too.

    I’ve had a hard time figuring out when to judge and not like the post talks about. I guess what’s key to me is that we have to make judgments in order to choose what we want in our lives, but at the same time we have to choose not to judge in order to love others. I guess what I mean is that we have to look at things objectively and try to see them as good or evil so that we know what to choose for ourselves, but when it comes to interacting with other people we need to not judge and to love them without judging, with charity.

    The Savior is our example of this, but even in his life some of the stories are hard to understand. He judged the Pharisees pretty harshly but ate with “publicans and sinners.” He cast the merchants out of the temple but extended mercy to the woman taken in adultery. Some of those stories don’t quite fit together for me sometimes. On the other hand, He is the Savior and has the right and ability to judge when and whom he chooses but commands us not to judge.

    I guess my bottom line is that we need to follow his example of charity. He never said, “Oh, that’s just the way they are. They’re never going to change.” Instead of pronouncing judgment on a weak mistake, he saw people for their potential, for what they could become, and withholds judgment in order to give them a chance to get there.

  15. Jenne Alderks

    September 28, 2010

    I feel there is a difference between judging what is right you for and judging someone else for doing something that isn’t right for you. Mormons are really good at (and need to be) judging what is right for them to do (get a tattoo, see that movie, live that lifestyle, etc) and the problem comes then from seeing other people doing those things that they got the answer was wrong for them. In some situations, what is wrong for one person is right for another (like working outside the home or putting children in childcare) and it is not right to judge another for choosing differently. The emphasis placed upon agency and choice in the gospel needs to be maintained and respected. I agree with President Monson and Mother Teresa that we can’t love others if we are judging them. And I know from experience and observation that no one is going to feel compelled to change if they are judged harshly.

    I give many thanks for the family who did not treat me harshly and instead loved me when I walked around the house taking the Lord’s name in vain repeatedly or engaged in an inappropriate relationship with their son. I didn’t ever one feel judged by the family even though I realized later the depths of their discomfort with those choices. They taught me the gospel and welcomed me to church and watched as I changed and became a faithful member of the church.

    I’ve seen the responses people have when they are told they are wrong or they are doing it wrong and it does not give them any incentive to change. Judging doesn’t work, but respect, tolerance and leniency does help people change. And it avoids a whole lot of interpersonal issues.

  16. FoxyJ

    September 28, 2010

    I like what everyone has said here. I actually really liked the story Pres. Monson shared about the dirty windows; it is important to keep in mind the fact that we are all looking through ‘dirty windows’ when we see other people. Also, by constantly focusing on the other lady’s laundry, this woman was taking no time to fix her own problems and clean her own house.

    I’ve found that when I am spending my time picking on other people and thinking unkind things about them, it is usually because I have some kind of insecurity or unresolved issue on myself. When I feel grumpy or unhappy, it is easier to project that on someone else instead of examining myself.

    I’ve also noticed that sometimes people become uncharitable when they feel like their worth and choices are threatened. Perhaps the woman who was complaining about seating felt that her seat made her ‘special’, and that having someone else sit in her section lessened her ‘specialness’ somehow. When we see others making different choices from us, we tend to worry that somehow ours are not as valid. There are several parables about people who seem less worthy still receiving promised blessings, and I think it is a human tendency to want to denigrate others to make ourselves feel better. If you have ‘done everything right’ and see someone receiving similar blessings after repenting, it can be threatening to your sense of self-worth. That’s when it is important to remember that “God is not a vending machine”

    I also agree with others who have talked about stewardship and discernment. As parents we have the right to practice discernment about the situations our families are in. We also have that right to do it for ourselves. If our stewardship calls for it, we can make judgements about other situations in our wards. These are not ‘final judgements’, but it is all right to decide that some things are not all right. We should also be careful about how we present those judgements to others. Even if we discern that the choices of others are not acceptable, and we are within our stewardship to act on that judgement, we still must act with charity and within the parameters listed in the Doctrine and Covenants (i.e. patience, love unfeigned, etc)

  17. Stephanie2

    September 28, 2010

    I feel there is a difference between judging what is right you for and judging someone else for doing something that isn’t right for you.

    I think Jenne said it well.

  18. Melissa M.

    September 28, 2010

    Thanks for the insightful comments, all.

    “When I have the Spirit in my life my judgments are spot on.”—Yes, Cristie, I agree. The challenge for me is striving to have the Spirit with me on a regular basis, and knowing when the Spirit is prompting me.

    “When we decide to take the kinder path in our dealings with others then we are coming closer to righteous judgment.”—Love this, Claudia.

    “We must look on the heart–-not on outward appearance or circumstance.”—So true, Jenny, and I loved your sharing time lesson.

    “I need to make decisions regarding myself and my children (which sometimes includes choosing appropriate friends, etc.), but if I’m judging something outside of that stewardship, it may not be a righteous judgment.” I agree, Liz, that we need to factor in our stewardships when making judgments. Perhaps the challenge is figuring out the boundaries of those stewardships?

    Marla, thank you for including that quote by Sister Nadauld.

    “If we feel haughty or better than our neighbor in the judgment we are making of them, then probably it does not envelop the charity President Monson was speaking of. Likewise, if we find ourselves in inappropriate or uncomfortable situations that thereby drive the Spirit away, we probably haven’t exercised the good judgment that is expected of us.”—Love this, JLS.

    bth, I think anyone who has been a RS president knows especially well how unkind we can be to one another. And how important it is that we love and serve one another. I take my hat off to RS presidents everywhere!

    “If we are careful to reserve our evaluations of people until we know them better, I would hope compassion would be a more natural companion to our verdicts.”—I agree, Corktree, that getting to know someone helps us better understand them and hopefully predisposes us to be more compassionate. Even then, it can be tricky, I think.

    Katie and Kimberley Smith, I like your mention of the word “discernment”; I truly believe that discernment is a gift of the Spirit and something we should be striving for.

    “It’s not okay to permanently or prematurely judge someone: this impedes and denies the power of the atonement in their life. If we really, truly believe in the power of the atonement, we must believe people can truly change. And we must be willing to retire a judgment we made in the past.”—Love this, Red.

    “Instead of pronouncing judgment on a weak mistake, [the Savior] saw people for their potential, for what they could become, and withholds judgment in order to give them a chance to get there.”—Jenn R., I need to strive more to see others as the Savior sees them. I think this ties in perfectly with the story Jenne Alderks shared about the family who graciously welcomed her into their home, which led to her conversion. Great example of Christlike love.

    Foxy J., I loved Pres. Monson’s story about the dirty windows, too.

    “I’ve found that when I am spending my time picking on other people and thinking unkind things about them, it is usually because I have some kind of insecurity or unresolved issue on myself.”—I’ve found this to be true, Foxy J., as well. Perhaps the trick is to extend more compassion to ourselves, and then we will be in a better position to extend compassion to others. I also liked your thoughts about discernment and stewardship.

  19. chococatania

    September 28, 2010

    I agree that a good way to understand the difference would be to call one judgment and the other discernment. We need to be able, and we have been blessed – as long as we keep our covenants – to discern between right and wrong, truth and error.
    This is totally different than judging others.

    I loved this talk – I was also pricked by the spirit, and motivated to be a better person.

    I pray to be more charitable and loving, and I’ve found that the thing that keeps me from obtaining this goal is usually my judgmental – or uncharitable – feelings toward another. President Monson’s talk was an answer to my prayers. I can cultivate charity if I stop being so petty!

    And imagine – what the relief society would be like, what visiting teaching would be like, what the power of the women of this church would be like – if we could all be full of Charity, the love that never fails, rather than get hung up on little judgments.

  20. Kerri

    September 28, 2010

    “I agree that a good way to understand the difference would be to call one judgment and the other discernment. We need to be able, and we have been blessed – as long as we keep our covenants – to discern between right and wrong, truth and error.”

    Chococatania, that is really really spot on. I LOVE this.

    I’ve had interesting experiences in my life in the last few years when I was protected from people who might have affected me or my family negatively. I have been trying consciously NOT to judge others, and what I felt is that when I was in the right spirit, these people and their issues kind of left my mind and my life. I didn’t have to spend time worrying about them or being judgmental because I felt like I was given a mental shield. Writing it out makes it sound a little wacko, but I really feel like I was protected from myself and my tendency to judge by just not worrying about things I would have earlier. The Lord can fill our minds with the RIGHT things when we leave space for Him to do it by not filling them with the WRONG things.

  21. Jill Shelley

    September 28, 2010

    Take our children for example.

    Say there is a woman in our ward who we question her lifestyle…maybe her language is rough, maybe she dresses immodestly, maybe she has had drug issues in the past, and we aren’t quite sure what she is up to these days either…but she is a very tender and sweet person, trying to live the gospel. Say, she asks to tend your children? Do you let her do it to show her that you are not judging her lifestyle and the way she looks? No, I sure would not leave my children with her. But can I love her? YES. Can I talk to her, and be concerned about her and open up some about my life to her? YES

    To me, that is my example of making righteous judgments (protecting our children) but still letting this woman into my heart and life.

  22. she-bop

    September 28, 2010

    Love the sinner, not the sin. Really, aren’t we all sinners? Some just seem more apparent, bigger, noticable. But there is not one of us that has not sinned. Daily. The trick is to not judge others who sin differently than we do.

    I love Pres. Monson’s talk. I do think there is a difference in judging and discernment. I think we should all use our minds and the Holy Ghost to help us in deciding what is right or wrong for us. And let others do the same. We have every right to protect ourselves and our family from things that may be harmful. But I think we (as parents) need to do a better job explaining ourselves, as we try to teach our children the difference between judging for the sake of judging and being mean, and judging for the sake of safety – both physically and emotionally.

  23. jendoop

    September 28, 2010

    Similar to what someone else said, I know if I am judging righteously by how it makes me feel.
    I also think that how we handle the information gleaned from our judgement makes a difference.

    Just last week someone did something that really wounded me, it shook my trust in them. At first I wanted to tell them what they did, how offensive and hurtful it was. Thankfully right before I went to the RS Broadcast my husband counseled me to let it go, and I agreed. Judging that person so that I now know not to trust them is appropriate. Making a bigger issue out of it by being offended and lecturing her about it isn’t (this is where the charity he spoke about comes in). This line from Pres. Monson’s talk clarifies,”May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.” I can recognize that when my friend does her best she may not be trustworthy, but I can still love her.

    Pres. Monson also made a simple remark about gossip, that could go unnoticed, “Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited.”
    It can be hard to tell if by speaking of another person you are gossiping or not. This line from President Monson will be a litmus test for me from now on.

  24. Melissa M.

    September 28, 2010

    Jendoop, that line of President Monson’s struck me as well: ““Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited.” An excellent way to tell where my heart is, and whether I’m gossiping or genuinely trying to help.

  25. dalene

    September 29, 2010

    I LOVED president Monson’s talk and I don’t see a conflict. To me righteous judgment is looking at a principle and possibly even others’ interpretation of that principle, asking “What do I believe?” or “What is right for me?” and seeking by the spirit to know. We should do this for ourselves–because we wish truly wish to know and to be obedient–not in order to condemn someone else whose answer to those questions may be different than ours.

    What I believe president Monson was talking about is assuming things (generally the worst) about people, criticizing them because they think or see the world or do things differently, and being exclusionary to others because they don’t think or act or dress or do their hair a certain way (read: as well as we do or think they should).

    And he was right on about that.

  26. dalene

    September 29, 2010

    Oh yeah–and do not get me started about gossip.

  27. Angie f

    September 29, 2010

    I love the distinction between discernment and being judgmental that has been made here. Ultimately, I think it’s the same distinction between judgment and being judgmental. Righteous judgment is essential and a necessary part of our mortal experience (how else do we exercise agency otherwise?). Being judgmental is judging without all the information or without the necessary stewardship, or in other words, pre-judging, or being prejudiced. For me this whole distinction is another way in which Satan tries to snare us these days–he is diligently trying to convince us that being judgmental is so bad that the only way to truly avoid it is to accept everything, every choice, as a valid and acceptable choice in life, where the good of tolerance crosses over into the bad of calling evil good and good evil. Yet another way I am so grateful for a living prophet to mark truth for us and make sure we don’t get lost.

  28. Angie f

    September 29, 2010

    That isn’t to say that it isn’t exceedingly difficult sometimes for our mortal brains and hearts to love unconditionally while exercising this vital judgment. Loving especially those sinners whose sins are ones we struggle with or those which particular scare us is a difficult yet essential part of keeping our covenants to love, mourn and serve our neighbors.

  29. Kathryn P.

    September 29, 2010

    I appreciated the comments about the gift of discernment and the Holy Ghost. Last Sunday my primary lesson was on idol worship. At first we laughed about how silly it was to worship a rock, but then we talked about all the modern forms of idol worship. The 12 year old girls in middle school suggested that girls sell their souls for “popularity” by engaging in cruel gossip and direct mocking of others. We live in a society where that behavior is glorified in the media. I suspect all of us understand exactly what President Monson was saying…

  30. Naismith

    September 29, 2010

    “Love the sinner, not the sin….The trick is to not judge others who sin differently than we do.”

    While I appreciated the general sentiment in this comment, I have to say that some of the most hurtful judgments I have experienced was when there was no sin involved.

    I was not good enough for my husband, in his family’s eyes, because I was a convert. In fact, I had lived the gospel faithfully ever since my baptism, but that wasn’t good enough. But to their thinking, I was somehow dirty or less because I wasn’t from good pioneer stock.

    In my experience, a lot of the judgments that women inflict upon one another have little or nothing to do with sin, and much more to do with mere differences.

    And yes, I loved that talk as well.

  31. Laurie

    September 29, 2010

    I have thought for days and days about this post, and there are several things I would say if I could figure out how to articulate them, but for now I will just say this. If the prophet felt the need to talk about this in the women’s conference, then it applies to all of us. We all need to hear his counsel, and not try to justify our behavior with semantics.

  32. liz

    September 29, 2010

    Laurie, I’m having a hard time seeing where your comment is coming from. I didn’t get the impression that anyone was trying to justify their behavior with semantics. Of course the prophet’s talk applies to all of us. I’ve enjoyed all of this discussion, because everyone has to sort out their own feelings and actions in order to apply the words of the prophet. I’m sure no one is thinking that they don’t have improvements to make — is that ever possible?

  33. Melissa M.

    September 29, 2010

    Laurie, I have to agree with Liz. I don’t think any of us is saying that we’re justified in being judgmental if we call it discernment instead of judgment. I do think there’s a difference between being judgmental and exercising righteous judgment, or using discernment, as we make choices (and I direct you to Elder Oaks’ talk, which I linked in comment#6–except that the link doesn’t seem to be working at present!–He says in this talk that all of us have to make choices and use judgment in order to do so.) I don’t think we’re trying to get out of applying Pres. Monson’s counsel. I haven’t had that impression as I’ve followed this discussion. And I, for one, have been enlightened by the comments made on this post.

  34. MelissaPete

    September 29, 2010

    This discussion is probably over, but I just got around to reading the first post. All I will add is that I personally can tell the difference when I am making a judgement call for mine or my family’s safety, and when I am deciding that so and so isn’t living this way or that, and it has nothing to do with me. The spirit usually whispers a small warning to me that I’m headed in a bad direction, and I try to remind myself that I don’t have all the information, nor do I know what is in someone else’s heart. Sometimes some things are just none of our beezwax. I think that was what President Monson was talking about. You have all already said these things, but thanks for letting me comment. 🙂

  35. Loralee

    September 29, 2010

    I think that a righteous judgment should only be made when we are making decisions about how to lead our own lives and what would be best for our eternal salvation. Judging others because of piencings, clothing, tatoos, or anything else is not appropriate because no one knows the background or situation of the person they’re judging. But to make good decisions for ourselves, judgements can and must be made whether or not it’s the right thing to do. I think that is the difference.

  36. Selwyn aka Kellie

    September 30, 2010

    I am yet to hear the talk in question, but I’m looking forward to it.

    For me, I try not to judge, though I have no qualms with unequivocally stating when things are wrong to my sons. “They broke a commandment, and that was the wrong thing to do.” Sure, it’s judging, but I’m not going to let things like adultery, slander or theft slide unnoted and therefore – by omission – accepted. The main thing I remember when I’m tempted to judge is D&C 64:11 “And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.” It’s stopped me saying, doing and thinking many things I would have later regretted.

  37. Sage

    October 1, 2010

    Great post, Melissa! Great comments, too.

    I keep thinking of my sister who is a RS pres. in a tiny northwestern state. She struggles with women who have not understood the importance of using righteous judgment because they saw judgment as something bad. Many of them have allowed evil into their homes in the name of not being judgmental. So, I love this discussion of clarity between using the spirit of discernment and recognizing unrighteous judgment. I only read highlights of Pres. Monson’s talk. Love that my ward is filled with loving sisters, very little pettiness. And I too, have felt the difference in my heart when I make a righteous, discerning judgment that keeps me & my family out of harm’s way and a petty judgment of another’s choices that distances me from the love of Christ.

  38. Katie

    October 1, 2010

    I know I’m a little late to the game, but for me I would say a righteous judgment is when I am making a choice about something I will do. An unrighteous judgment is when I decide what someone else should do or should have done.

    Recently I felt impressed that it was okay for me to avoid doing play dates with some of the other women in the ward because my daughter sometimes has trouble getting along with their daughters. For me, the judgment was that trying to force a friendship between the girls would do more damage than good and might cause my daughter to dislike going to church. I felt good about that decision. I don’t have any ill feelings towards those moms, it’s just kids will be kids and I felt it was better to seek ways to socialize with them other than play dates (or play groups, as it may be). I think if I were to start avoiding those moms because I was angry at them because I blamed them for our daughters not getting along so well it would definitely be an unrighteous judgment, but this isn’t about their choices, this is about mine.

  39. Giggles

    October 3, 2010

    President Monson’s talk was about charity. Judging righteously was such a small part of it, so small. It was a wonderful discourse one the true meaning of charity.

  40. Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury

    October 4, 2010

    I’d like to share how that talk affected me, even though this comment is coming quite late.

    I am the visiting teaching coordinator in our ward, which means I collect the reports that the supervisors receive from the companionships, and give them to the relief society president.

    I had spent most of that day struggling with frustration over one sister in particular who has not been doing her visiting teaching for several months (even though the relief society president has spoken to her about it more than once, and she has promised to do better), and I was trying very hard to be charitable toward her.

    I even wrote a blog post (on my private, family blog) about how nobody’s perfect and while I may be better at some things that someone else, that person may be much better than I am at other things. It didn’t help, and I continued to feel frustrated with myself as well as with that sister.

    I was very glad to hear Sister Thompson’s talk on the importance of visiting teaching, but I wept through President Monson’s talk. His words helped me to let go of my frustration and to feel so much better about that sister. It was such a blessing and I am very grateful for what he said.

    Being critical of others, for whatever reason, only serves to sour our own souls, and I was so blessed as his talk helped me to become free of that sourness.

    I intend, the next time I find myself sinking into a similar frustration, to get that talk out and read it over again. What a blessing it was to me to be able to hear it that day.

  41. Melissa M.

    October 5, 2010

    Kathleen, thank you so much for sharing that story! And I love this: “Being critical of others, for whatever reason, only serves to sour our own souls.” Profound and true.

Comments are closed.

RELATED POSTS