As future leaders of the rising generation, we must learn how to judge in Christ’s way, which is “merciful, loving, and redemptive, not condemning.”
When speaking to young adults, President Russell M. Nelson has said, “you are the future leaders of the Lord’s Church!” It is thus our sacred opportunity to prepare to become the next leaders and parents in the Lord’s kingdom—and judgment will play a large part in our leadership.
In his talk “The Righteous Judge,” Lynn G. Robbins shares examples from the scriptures of how “the proceedings of a righteous judge are merciful, loving, and redemptive, not condemning.” As Elder Robbins points out, Joseph Smith failed three times to obtain permission from the Lord to take the golden plates because he had yet to align his will with the Lord’s. But once Joseph was humbled and realized the true purpose of his assignment, the result, as Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 states, was that “Joseph Smith … [did] more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” God’s judgment teaches us as leaders to patiently judge and encourage others to become more like Jesus Christ.
When judging, we must be conscious of the motive behind our judgments. In the New Testament, when the Samaritans would not receive Christ, James and John asked if Christ would grant them permission to “command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them.” Christ then pointed out that they were not judging with the spirit of love, and that “the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:51-56). While James and John wanted to condemn the unrighteous people, Christ’s judgment teaches us as leaders to love and build up others when we judge.
As we patiently encourage and build up others in love, we can become righteous judges by applying Jesus’ counsel to the Nephites when he asked, “What manner of men [or women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
—Saralee Dunster, Mormon Insights
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