Judging Others

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“Our obligation and privilege is to embrace improvement in everyone as we strive to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. What a thrill it is to see light in the eyes of someone who has come to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and is making real changes in his or her life! Missionaries who have experienced the joy of seeing a convert enter the waters of baptism and then enter the doors of the temple are witnesses of the blessing of allowing—and encouraging—others to change. Members who welcome converts who might have been considered unlikely candidates for the kingdom find great satisfaction in helping them feel the love of the Lord. The great beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the reality of eternal progression—we are not only allowed to change for the better but also encouraged, and even commanded, to continue in the pursuit of improvement and, ultimately, perfection.

 
Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home,” October 2016 General Conference


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When we see our own imperfections more clearly, we are less inclined to view others ‘through a glass, darkly.’ We want to use the light of the gospel to see others as the Savior does—with compassion, hope, and charity. The day will come when we will have a complete understanding of others’ hearts and will be grateful to have mercy extended to us—just as we extend charitable thoughts and words to others during this life.

 
Words have surprising power, both to build up and to tear down. We can all probably remember negative words that brought us low and other words spoken with love that made our spirits soar. Choosing to say only that which is positive about—and to—others lifts and strengthens those around us and helps others follow in the Savior’s way.
 
Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home,” October 2016 General Conference


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Recently, as three-year-old Alyssa watched a movie with her siblings, she remarked with a puzzled expression, ‘Mom, that chicken is weird!’

 
“Her mother looked at the screen and responded with a smile, ‘Honey, that is a peacock.’
 
“Like that unknowing three-year-old, we sometimes look at others with an incomplete or inaccurate understanding. We may focus on the differences and perceived flaws in those around us whereas our Heavenly Father sees His children, created in His eternal image, with magnificent and glorious potential.”
 
Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home,” October 2016 General Conference


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One of the most significant ways we can develop and demonstrate love for our neighbor is through being generous in our thoughts and words. Some years ago a cherished friend noted, ‘The greatest form of charity may be to withhold judgment.’ That is still true today.
 
Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency
I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home,” October 2016 General Conference

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“To be sisters implies that there is an unbreakable bond between us. Sisters take care of each other, watch out for each other, comfort each other, and are there for each other through thick and thin. The Lord has said, ‘I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (Doctrine and Covenants 38:27).

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator.

“We can still be friends, can’t we?

“We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, ‘The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly’. She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sister and our associations and begin to serve.”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” April 2014 General Conference

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“If there are barriers, it is because we ourselves have created them. We must stop concentrating on our differences and look for what we have in common; then we can begin to realize our greatest potential and achieve the greatest good in this world. Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley once said, ‘Oh, how we need each other. Those of us who are old need you who are young. And hopefully, you who are young need some of us who are old. It is a sociological fact that women need women. We need deep and satisfying and loyal friendships with each other.’ Sister Hinckley was right; oh, how we need each other!”

Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President
Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” April 2014 General Conference

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“Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: ‘If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’ The Savior has admonished, ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’ I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer—with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot.”
 
Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church
Charity Never Faileth,” October 2010 General Conference
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“Several years ago we had a young paperboy who didn’t always deliver the paper in the manner intended. Instead of getting the paper on the porch, he sometimes accidentally threw it into the bushes or even close to the street. Some on his paper route decided to start a petition of complaint. One day a delegation came to our home and asked my wife, Frances, to sign the petition. She declined, saying, ‘Why, he’s just a little boy, and the papers are so heavy for him. I would never be critical of him, for he tries his best.’ The petition, however, was signed by many of the others on the paper route and sent to the boy’s supervisors.
 
“Not many days afterward, I came home from work and found Frances in tears. When she was finally able to talk, she told me that she had just learned that the body of the little paperboy had been found in his garage, where he had taken his own life. Apparently the criticism heaped upon him had been too much for him to bear. How grateful we were that we had not joined in that criticism. What a vivid lesson this has always been regarding the importance of being nonjudgmental and treating everyone with kindness.”
 
Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church

Constant Truths for Changing Times,” April 2005 General Conference

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“Do we judge one another? Do we criticize each other for individual choices, thinking we know better, when in fact we rarely understand another’s unique circumstance or individual inspiration? Have we ever said, ‘She works outside the home.’ Or, ‘Her son didn’t serve a mission.’ Or, ‘She’s too old for a calling.’ Or, ‘She can’t—she’s single.’ Such judgments, and so many others like them, rob us of the good part, that pure love of Christ.”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” October 2003 General Conference

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“We also lose sight of that good part when we compare ourselves to others. Her hair is cuter, my legs are fatter, her children are more talented, or her garden’s more productive—sisters, you know the drill. We just can’t do that. We cannot allow ourselves to feel inadequate by focusing on who we aren’t instead of on who we are! We are all sisters in Relief Society. We simply cannot criticize, gossip, or judge and keep the pure love of Christ. Can’t you hear the Lord’s sweet injunction: ‘Martha, Martha … ?’ ”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” October 2003 General Conference

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“In exercising charity, we come to know a sister’s heart. When we know a sister’s heart, we are different. We won’t judge her. We will simply love her. I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better. As we do this we will come to know with a surety that ‘charity never faileth.’ ”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society General President
Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” October 2003 General Conference

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“Perhaps our study and faith may be resources for a searching sister, but let us never judge another. We do not know her circumstances. We do not know what soul-searching went into her decisions. …Let us be accepting and supportive as sisters. Let us trust the Lord, trust ourselves, and trust each other that we are trying to do the best we can.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rowing Your Boat,” October 1994 General Conference

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“We need all the strength we can find for our daily trials. Let us not add our disapproval to a sister’s burdens. And as we struggle with our own burdens, let us not diminish our strength by accepting the perhaps thoughtless judgments of others.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rowing Your Boat,” October 1994 General Conference

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“Let us value everyone’s contributions. Let us not exclude a sister, whatever her life choices and whatever her circumstances. Let us express trust that she used both study and prayer in making her decisions, and provide a supportive environment in which she can carry out those decisions, evaluate them for their success, and modify them if necessary. If change is necessary or desirable, it will be easier in a nurturing, supportive atmosphere.”

Chieko N. Okazaki, First Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Rowing Your Boat,” October 1994 General Conference

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