Spiritual promptings and our own intuition are gifts from God to keep us safe. Let us trust ourselves while still respecting others as children of God.
Recently, I took my car to the dealership for a routine service appointment when an older man approached me and struck up conversation. As he began asking invasive questions, making lewd comments, and ignoring my repeated rejections for a date, a deep pit settled in my stomach. I felt prompted to answer as vaguely as possible. When my car was finished, I told the service manager what was happening, and he told me to drive away as fast as possible so the other man did not catch my license plate or try to follow me. Once I was a considerable distance away, the knots in my stomach subsided.
I know that the feelings of discomfort prompted me to protect myself and my information, allowing me to properly judge this situation and this person. In his talk “Developing Good Judgement and Not Judging Others,” Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer describes the type of assessment my situation required: “Although we are asked not to judge others, He [the Savior] still expects us to use excellent judgment.” While we want to approach others as Christ would, we also need to be mindful of people and situations that have the potential to be unhealthy or harmful.
Discerning the difference between genuine promptings about others versus our own bias can be difficult; however, there are a few principles that can guide us in these decisions. Elder Schwitzer outlines a few key strategies to guide our decision-making. One strategy to determine whether we are judging righteously is to use the Spirit as our primary guide. Pay attention to feelings of peace and to voices of warning. Another strategy is aligning our values with Christ. In modeling ourselves after his example and the principles of his gospel, we can prevent ourselves from judging unrighteously or unkindly.
Developing good judgment is critical during our time on earth. Elder Schwitzer summarizes this need: “Good judgment is needed not only in understanding people but also in facing decisions that often lead us to or away from our Heavenly Father.” As we cultivate our relationship with the Spirit and align our values with Christ, we can receive valuable and even divine direction.
Read more of Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer’s talk “Developing Good Judgement and Not Judging Others” to discover more strategies for developing Christ-like judgment.
Source: General Conference
—Cala Taylor, Latter-day Saint Insights
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Find more insights
Take a look at the Latter-day Saint Insights article “Judging With Compassion” by Melissa Gee to learn more about the role of compassion in our interactions with others.
For more insights, read the Latter-day Saint Insights article “Judging to Save, Not Destroy” by Saralee Dunster to find more strategies for using righteous judgment.