Monday, June 11, 2012


What does it mean to judge, or refrain from judging, others? When you make a deliberate effort "not to judge", what does that look like?

This is something that I realized I've always been kind of confused about, and I think that confusion needs to be resolved before I can make any progress in overcoming this fault.

For instance, if I'm trying not to judge others, does that mean I don't have any opinion on the actions of others?

Does it mean that while I may have an initial reaction to the actions of others, I must always be sure to remind myself that I don't know the whole story, and therefore have no right to make any real judgments?

Am I allowed to judge when the actions of others affect me?

If someone breaks into my house, kills my dog and eats all my otter pops, I'm pretty sure I'm not only going to have an opinion about these events, but I'm going to have an opinion about the person who did it. Should I wait to hear about this person's life history and the circumstances surrounding the event before I make that judgment? Or is it understood that I'm inevitably going to make a biased judgment at first, which will have to be corrected later?

What if a member of my ward gets up during testimony meeting one Sunday and bears what I believe to be a very irreverent, fairly offensive testimony (this may or may not have happened last Fast Sunday). Is it wrong for me to feel this way? I thought feelings were never wrong? How would a non-judgmental person handle this situation?

Insights are appreciated.

Also, good news:

See this impossibly adorable kid in the Hawaiian floral combo?

Well, he's all grown up now, and I get to marry him in TWELVE days.

I'm a little bit stoked about it.


Amanda said...

12 days! I can't believe it! Where did my little Mish go?

Judging is one of those things that I'm sure everyone struggles with. There is that whole righteous judgements idea...which is hard. How can you tell if you are "righteously judging"? Sorry, I really don't have any insight.

Bryce said...

Great thoughts, sis! I think you will find a lot of value in this talk by Elder Oaks:

Karrot Soup said...

Now, 11 days...what the heck? I'm not ready!! OK, I personally just need to pack and get on the plane and all, but still -- that's really soon. Yay for you, and nice post. I'm glad the otter pops and dog are hypothetical.

Collette said...

I miss stalking your blog! And this post is just screaming "Collette come back!"

My comment was rejected due to length so I made it a post on my blog. So go there!

One thing I didn't want to say on my blog:

In the case of someone bearing a "bad testimony", what can you do about it? If you're feeling offended whose problem is that? See I think the key is to stop trying to control other peoples' actions. No one controls you and you control no one, but yourself. By the way, if you want to yell hypocrite at me right now, feel free :)

Mish said...

Haha, Collette, I knew you'd take the bait! It was a particularly Collettey post, I must agree.

Things are a little clearer after reading your post and the great talk that Bryce recommended, although I'm definitely not all the way there yet. I think one of the main confusing things for me that I had a hard time articulating was the distinction between judging people and judging situations. I understand that it's rarely our place to judge a person, because we're not omniscient, and it usually doesn't fall within our stewardship anyway. But it's hard for me to imagine not having an opinion on a situation. Like with the guy in testimony meeting - it wasn't even so much that I was offended (well, ok, I was, and I realize now that that was definitely my problem and not his), but even if I wasn't, aren't I still allowed to think something someone says isn't appropriate for testimony meeting? Don't we all make judgments about what is and isn't appropriate for testimony meeting, which explains why we don't see more circus clowns in there? Can I judge someone's testimony-bearing as not appropriate (situation), but still refrain from condemning the person (person)? Or am I still being a hopelessly bigoted? So hard to tell sometimes.

Collette said...

I would say definitely judge the the testimony as inappropriate but don't condemn the bearer of said testimony. Which is super hard. We had a toddler in sacrament meeting yesterday that was throwing a full-on tantrum and the parents didn't take him out... for 10+ minutes!!!! Even in that situation though I had to force myself to think "The Spirit won't leave me because he's crying, he'll leave when I get angry/annoyed/judgmental." That experience got me wondering about who is supposed to judge and address that situation and I'm pretty sure it's the Bishop's responsibility. I remember having a Bishop that recognized that right after sac. meeting everyone started talking really loud and he addressed the congregation about it and consistently reminded them that conversations needed to be taken out of the chapel. I'm thinking that if the Bishop, as a judge in Israel, doesn't feel inspired to address the situation then there's nothing I can do about it. ???

Mish said...

I think you're right again, Collette. I feel good about this.

Carol said...

Okay, here's my summed up opinion I have officially created from all these readings:
Oaks never said judging people was wrong. In fact he used an example of righteously judging a child molester to babysit your children. As Collette said, judging a drug addict is necessary to know if you should hang with them in sketchy scenarios. You just cannot judge a person "ultimately."
In other words, when you judge them you 1)cannot take offense or get otherwise emotional over it- that is a worthless judgment for you and them 2)you must understand that this judgment is a forgiving judgment, or one that is temporary, as that person has the ability to change 3)You have to do something about that judgment you just made. Will this judgment lead to you helping them someway? 4)Lastly, the judgment on person or people is equivalent in strictness and quantity to your judgments of yourself

Righteous judging is good because it educates us on our standards,ultimately raises our standards, helps others improve, strengthens our ability to forgive, and humbles ourselves. If judging someone is not doing those things, then it is not a good judgment.

Boy do I hate the Irish.
Just kidding.