A Release from an Unsolemn Duty

Brothers and sisters, we only have one item of ward business today, but it’s a doozy.

Would everyone please stand. Yes, everyone. That’s it. Thank you.

We have released every one of you from the responsibility of judging others. Each of you who would like to show appreciation for officially being released from this unsolemn duty, you may do so with a show of hands.

Thank you. The “voting” appears to be unanimous in the affirmative. You may all now be seated.

By way of explanation, brothers and sisters, you and I have never had a duty to judge others. (That’s why I called it unsolemn.) In fact, the opposite is true. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1.) That’s a commandment, and I think He meant it.

None of us has the responsibility to judge our wives or husbands, our children, our parents, our neighbors and friends. We can’t even really judge ourselves. Our Heavenly Father has delegated all judgment to Someone better suited to the job than you or I. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22.)

Why? Because He is the only one who can do it fairly and accurately. He is the only one who will do it always with mercy and love. I know we like to amuse ourselves with the illusion that we know what other people are up to, what they are thinking, and why they do things. But the truth is we are almost always flat wrong.

This doesn’t mean we don’t need to use our discernment to make decisions about who our children spend time with, what movies to watch, who we should be friends with, work for, or marry. We need to follow our inner guidance system—the light of Christ—to help us know what is good and safe for us. That is not judgment: That is righteous judgment.

What’s the difference between judgment and righteous judgment? Jesus explained it in a sermon: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24).

When we are in judgment, we are in the “natural man” and we are denying the atonement. Especially when we judge ourselves. It’s time to give it up. The more we practice, the better we’ll get at leaving judgment in the hands of our Savior.

I know we can do it.

(A remark on a CD by S. Michael Wilcox gave me the idea for this blog entry.)