13 May 2012

Judging the Judgers

Elder Busche says "Never judge anyone" and President Uchtdorf says "Stop it."  President Monson (all-time favorite talk ever) also tells just not to judge and if those men don't mean anything to you, even the bibles teaches us

I've always struggled with this.  Before Pete's addiction came to light, or even during the first few years I self-righteously judged all the time.  I come from a family of harsh judgers, ever criticizing others.  In a conversation with my family you will hear many subtle justifications for their elitist attitudes, but ultimately they just judge. I did too.  Let's be honest, I still do. 

So when I hear the counsel of wise men warning me not to judge I initially think of the unfair labels, accusations and assumptions I place against people.  I think of the ways I point out their flaws and criticize their behavior and choices.  I'm talking about people who are making "obvious mistakes" or who aren't living up to my ideals.

Then my own world changed, I desperately long to NOT be judged and to find acceptance from others.  Not only that but I learned that everyone has secrets, and suffers quietly behind the scenes.  I had an increase of love for others as I recognized my own need for love. 

But recently I discovered that I still judge, I just judge differently.  I judge the judgers.  I blame and criticize the self-righteous.  At first it was obvious to me in other people.  A friend was frustrated that her sisters were so judgemental of her.  I could recall being judgemental, and so I was a little defensive of the sisters.  And then it occurred to me that she was being as hard on her sisters as they were being on her.

Why do we feel so badly when people judge us?

- We feel that their expectations of us are unreasonable.
- We long to be loved and accepted not on condition of our behavior.
- They don't know the whole story, but they think they do.

And yet, when we accuse those around us of being judgemental we are doing the same thing.  We are withholding our love because of their behavior.  We are having an expectation of them to be something they are not.  And even though it may seem we know THEIR whole story, of course we do not.  When we resent people for not being loving and kind toward us, we are no better than they are.

I'm not trying to come down on the suffering here, and place blame.  There is a point to my soapbox. 

Elder Busche says "Never judge anyone.  When you accept this you will be free."

How does it make us free?  Because I've discovered true beauty in love.  Love for the suffering AND the self-righteous.  I've learned that once I free myself of criticizing thoughts about others, I am no longer paranoid about other people having critical thoughts about me.

I'm not sure how that works exactly, but I AM sure it does. 


  1. Ahhh ! This post cuts home as I too came to this realization recently. I am becoming more aware of my continual judging. I still do it and Jane's right - it's just different now. And while I try to be less judgmental - I am pretty sure that I won't be perfect in that - not in this lifetime. And again, this is where the Atonement comes in. And I believe the Savior knows the intent of my heart.

    Hope I am making some sense !

  2. Deep thoughts Jane. I like to think that charity is simply giving people the benefit of the doubt. We all need kindness.

  3. Me too, judging was easy. I also come from a long line of judgers. Why do we think we're better than everyone else...who knows. But then I got slammed with this sex addiction thing and BAM! I live in utter humility.

    Please don't judge me. :)

    p.s. Happy mother's day!

  4. This is a really great post with some deep insight. Listening to Elder Busche will do that to you! :)

    I don't have much else to add other than I totally agree, and that I've felt some of that same liberating power as I've freed myself from judging others. But like the rest of you are noticing...there seems to be some kind of staircase that all of us are on when it comes to learning stuff like this. We realize how silly we've been in condemning or judging those we've been asked to love, we change our ways, and feel liberation. Perhaps that liberation makes us more sensitive to the fact that there is yet another person or group of people we've been judging, and when we stop, we become even more free...which makes us sensitive to yet another group that before we were blinded to.

    I think it just keeps going on and on...until we slowly learn how to develop and express real Christ-like love.

    It's an awesome process though isn't it?

  5. Amen sister!! As someone who had to deal with many "judgers"
    (is that even a word?) when my personal situation came to light it was really hard not to judge everyone for judging my husband.

    I'm still workin on it. ;)

  6. This is a reeeeealy good post Jane. We are all guilty of this... but what I love most....

    "Because I've discovered true beauty in love. Love for the suffering AND the self-righteous. I've learned that once I free myself of criticizing thoughts about others, I am no longer paranoid about other people having critical thoughts about me"

    Thank you!


  7. I'm getting better at this not judging thing, one step at a time. Thanks for helping me see another facet of it that I need to work on!
    It sounds like we come from very similar families -- my question to you is, how does your family handle you pulling away from this kind of conversation . . . I've tried to get away from judgements and talking about others, and I find my Mother (in particular) gets frustrated with me when I try and shut down her criticisms and assumptions about others, and acts like I'm attacking her, and it's starting to really strain our relationship, and all I'm trying to do is cut negativity out of my life . . .