Have you ever been robbed?
Several years ago, through Internet fraud, someone robbed my savings account. I felt vulnerable, and violated.
We have had a few robberies in my neighborhood over the past few years; we all became more suspicious and aware.
I remember being falsely accused, as someone tried to rob me of my reputation, which was devastating.
Usually when we have been robbed, it is someone else's fault.
Recently I read a talk by Sister Bonnie Parkin, which gave me great pause.
"Do we judge one another? Do we criticize each other for individual choices, thinking we know better, when in fact we rarely understand another's unique circumstance or individual inspiration? Have we ever said, 'She works outside the home.' Or, 'Her son didn't serve a mission.' Or, 'She's too old for a calling.' Or, 'She can't — she's single.'
"Such judgments, and so many others like them, rob us of the good part, that pure love of Christ."
I began thinking of the times that I was robbed, "of the good part, that pure love of Christ." I had always heard how judging can potentially hurt others, and at some level of consciousness I knew that it probably wasn't good for me, but to learn that I was robbed; now it became personal.
I couldn't even begin to tell you all of the times I have been robbed as I have been so quick to judge over the years. However, I will never forget one such time.
I was sitting in the Phoenix airport on a Sunday afternoon with my parents. I was flying back to my hometown in California. As I was waiting to board the plane, I was watching an LDS missionary sitting between his mission president and the president's wife. I had been on a mission, and so of course I knew that transfers did not happen on Sundays. I also knew this was not a happy occasion. All three had their heads down, no words were being spoken, and a look of defeat was written all over this missionary's face. I leaned over to my parents and said, "That missionary is busted. Transfers don't happen on Sunday, and he has messed up." I was sure of it. I knew protocol, and I was confident of what I saw.
We flew on the same plane as that missionary, and my heart sank when we arrived, as I soon learned that he was flying home to his father's funeral. How could I have been so insensitive, so harsh and so quick to judge?
I felt bad for making such a quick judgment; however, I didn't think I did any harm. This young man never heard my comments, and I quickly conceded I was in error, so that was the end of it, right? Wrong.
I have since learned that I was robbing myself of "the pure love of Christ." I was violated and had become vulnerable to the influences of Satan. I soon realized how counterproductive I had been.
I felt like I had tried so hard to be a better person, to become more Christlike. I felt like I had dedicated much of my life to filling my cup with those things that would bring me closer to my Heavenly Father. Then I learned that while I was adding to my cup, I had a leak. I was being robbed! I was losing the pure love of Christ, the good part.
Needless to say, judging has taken on new meaning to me. Though I am far from perfect, it has opened my eyes.
We have all been robbed; we have all allowed ourselves to be violated and vulnerable.
Each time we cast blame or jump to conclusions as to why someone is divorced, or why someone is not married, or how someone got married too soon after the death of a spouse, or how their parenting was the cause of their children's reckless behavior, or any other time we throw judgments on someone, just remember, we have gained nothing, but instead we have been robbed of "the good part, the pure love of Christ."
We, as members of the church, spend so much of our time serving and sacrificing as a demonstration of our love to our Heavenly Father. The thief of judgment is just around the corner, looking to take away the benefits of such endeavors.
It is personal!
We have worked too hard to let it all go by judging one another.
Becky Thomas has a family-living degree from Brigham Young University. Her column, "The Unexpected Life," appears on MormonTimes.com on Sundays.
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