Sunday, June 2, 2013

Don't Be A Despiser or A Judger

I've had some thoughts percolating in my brain for the last few days and I want to get them down.  It started in Gospel Doctrine class on Sunday, when I remembered a class I took from Michael Wilcox at Education Week 5 or so years ago.  

Julie and I were talking in the break about it and she added a lot of insights.

Then Catherine gave a fabulous (seriously, so fabulous) lesson in Relief Society on not judging each other.  She drew from President Uchtdorf's talk a little, and I love this quote:

"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?"

It was one of those perfect days, when everything coalesces into one harmonious whole.

What I learned from Michael Wilcox comes from Romans 14

In the ancient church, the Saints were divided over the issue on whether to eat the meat that had been offered as sacrifices to idols.  Paul tells the Saints, in essence, to Stop It.  To stop judging each other.

(Romans 14:3) Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not ajudge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Despisers say:  I'm going to do what I want, it doesn't matter what you say.

Judgers say:  You seriously shouldn't do that.  It's wrong.  I am right.

When have I been a despiser or a judger?  On silly issues, really.  Things that don't have a lot of bearing on eternal salvation -- unless the judging/despising leads to personal apostasy for myself or those around me (e.g., drinking Coke, traveling on Sunday, having gum or mints on Fast Sunday, swearing, March Madness Pools or Bunco, little girls wearing sleeveless shirts).

Take it a step further: (Romans 14:13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a astumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

(Romans 14:15) But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, anow walkest thou not bcharitably. Destroy not him cwith thy meat, for whom Christ died.

expounding on my notes from Bro Wilcox:  If I truly love others, I will act with love and not be a stumbling block for them.  It probably doesn't matter if I drink Diet Coke, but if it is a stumbling block for Sister So&So, can I give it up for her?  It probably doesn't matter if I chew gum on Fast Sunday, but if Brother So&So is offended, can I leave my gum at home?  It probably doesn't matter if little girls wear sleeveless dresses, but if it offends Sister So&So, can I add a t-shirt?

I don't want to be a judger or a despiser.  I want to exemplify charity and love others the way Christ did.

It's a work in progress.  I will keep at it!


HappyCamper said...

What a marvelous treatise you have just given. Your ability to interpret and translate others thoughts and ideas are amazing.

I am touched by your thoughtfulness of others. You are right, most things aren't that important, but if it offends someone, maybe the Christ like thing to do is stop out of love and respect for them.

What a wonderful and precious daughter!

Stacey said...

I am glad I know you!


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