Although we should be careful how we judge, judgment is necessary for our eternal progression.
I hear what people say when they call for no judgment: love the sinner, not the sin. But too often people, whether out of good intentions or bad, blur the phrase, taking it into dangerous territory: love the sinner, ignore the sin. While it’s true that we should always strive to love others, we should never ignore sin. Avoiding judgment against evil and sin is like willfully blinding our spirits.
In a talk given at Brigham Young University in 1998 called “Judge Not and Judging,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks discusses a type of judgment we must make: “The scriptures require mortals to make what I will call intermediate judgments. These judgments are essential to the exercise of personal moral agency. Our scriptural accounts of the Savior’s mortal life provide the pattern. He declared, ‘I have many things to say and to judge of you’ (John 8:26). And ‘for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see’ (John 9:39).”
Of course, there are definitely types of judgments that we should leave in the hands of our Savior and never make ourselves. Elder Oaks refers to these judgments as final judgments,which are characterized by condemning individuals as perfect or irreparably broken and by not allowing individuals to change.
It’s clear why we should steer clear of final judgments, but this doesn’t mean we should steer clear of all judgments. If that were the case, we would never be able to form opinions or decide between right and wrong. And that, without a doubt, would halt our eternal progression. So although we should be careful in how we judge, judgment itself is vital to our agency and accountability.
Read more about how and why we should judge in Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s’ speech “Judge Not and Judging.”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Erin Nightingale, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY SEBASTIAN PICHLER
Find more insights
Learn more about the balance between making righteous judgments and not judging others in Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer’s talk “Developing Good Judgment and Not Judging Others.”
Discover more about our responsibility to judge in 1 Corinthians 6:2–5.
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