Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Developing Good Judgment and Not Judging Others

This entry is part of my general conference application series.

Developing Good Judgment and Not Judging Others, by Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer
Of the Seventy

Shortly after we moved to our current home, I met someone and made a judgment about him. I decided that he was bothersome, judgmental, and not the nicest person. (Pretty funny that I labeled him judgmental, isn't it.) As you can probably guess, in process of time I began to hear reports of this fellow that were entirely opposite of my initial impressions that I was still clinging so tightly to; I heard how kind, considerate, generous, and charitable he was.

I could not believe it. It wasn't so much that I didn't believe he could be those things; it was more that I didn't want to admit to myself that I had been wrong.

Shortly thereafter, I had the opportunity to observe him and it changed my mind completely. It turns out that not only was he better than I had originally judged him to be, I saw that was better in many important ways than me!

As I reviewed Elder Schwitzer's comments, particularly his analysis of Martha (of Mary and Martha fame), I thought of this man—who, coincidentally, is now a trusted friend—who I greatly misjudged.

Elder Schwitzer observes that Martha is often given a terrible time in Sunday School classes. This is interesting because in studying a story about Martha's interaction with the man—Christ—who is, alone, qualified and able to perfectly judge, the students and teacher end up, themselves, misjudging.

I love, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. In another of Martha's recorded interactions with Christ, occurring after the death of her brother, Lazarus, she shows that "she was actually a person of deep spiritual character who had a bold and daring testimony of the Savior's mission and His diving power over life." We read of her response to Christ's questions in John 11:20-27:

Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

Elder Schwitzer observes:

Many a sister has often heard the first story and wondered if she were a Mary or a Martha, yet the truth lies in knowing the whole person and in using good judgment.

So, in our self-evaluations, instead of wondering if we are a Mary or a Martha, perhaps we should wonder what version of ourselves we are showing: Are we showing that we are momentarily concerned over material things (perhaps rightly so); or are we demonstrating our true, deep convictions and faith in Christ?

If we can understand and know that such a distinction is possible in ourselves, then it seems only fair to apply similar logic when we encounter others. Instead of rushing to judgment, I want to trust that I'm simply not seeing the full picture and wait until I know the real person—not just the Martha they're showing at the moment—and then be able to use excellent judgment.

0 thoughts