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Several years ago a dear friend of mine came at me in a very attacking fashion. I was in shock and I shed many tears. She misunderstood something I had done. My dear friend was told things about me that were not true and she believed the lies. I was so hurt. I was hurt that she could believe such things and I was hurt that she would come at me so fiercfully.

To make matters worse I decided then and there I was done with her. I didn’t need that kind of a friend. I shut her out and I turned off when she was around.

When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment.  Elder Ucthdorf 

Looking back, I see that I missed out on years of influence and companionship from this sweet women. I was upset that she had judged me so harshly so in return I judged her motives and I judged her actions. I was doing the same thing I was so offended by. It’s obvious now but sometimes in the moment it can be difficult to see.

Over the years I felt myself soften towards her. Then about a year ago I felt our deep friendship return in a new and stronger fashion. My deepest pain was not from how she acted but about how I responded. How I lost years of our friendship over my own pride and judgement.

So how do we let go of the need to judge?  How do we move forward when we are sure we know what is the right way and others are simply… wrong?

The best advice I ever received on this topic was this:

As you separate who people are from what they do, you will be able to love and respect them. And they, in turn, will love and respect you.


The biggest key to letting go of judgment is to assume their motives are good even if their judgment is lacking. If I can assume they just don’t understand that what they are doing is wrong or hurtful, I can show greater kindness.  I try to assume that they are coming from a place of righteous motives.

What if they have bad motives you ask?  This little trick can still work. As you assume they are coming from a good place it is easier to love them. It becomes easier to move forward. And your heart does not have to be affected by their negative nancy attitude.

And really doesn’t judging others require so much mental energy that could be used for better things?  I can think of the times I have “vented” only to become more frustrated and I can feel my body and spirits tense.

Let me give you an example.  You are out shopping and you spot “that” mom. She seems all frazzled and frustrated and she just makes it so easy to judge. Why can’t she see her kids are hungry and tired and they really need to go home. She can come back another time. And then she loses it and she yells at those sweet babies. You want to march over there and rescue them.

Have you ever felt like that?  I am sure guilty of it.

Until one day you become that mom. You have to find a dress for your sisters wedding and you have run out of time. You don’t have the luxury of waiting and you can’t really afford a babysitter because you are worried the dress is going to cost more then you have to spend as it is.

The kids don’t like shopping any more then you do. They don’t care that the baby was up all night with croup and that you and baby are so so tired. And all of the sudden you realize you are yelling. In front of the whole store. Some lady you have never meet glares at you hate daggers are flying at you. You are so embarrassed and so frusturated.

You quickly buy a dress that you don’t even really like just so you can be done. You rush to the car and then you can’t stop the tears from coming. You apologize to your kids and you might even cry some more.

Maybe  this doesn’t sound fimiliar to you and you can’t at all relate but could you imagine how you might feel realizing you have judged another for something you are guilty of?

What if instead of jumping to negative conclusions you went up to that mom and told her to stick with? What if you gave her words of encouragement that could only come from another mom who knows motherhood can be hard but it is so worth it?

As we strive to see the good in others we not only lift their burdens but we can also be given a measure of joy. The kind of joy that reaches deep into your heart and lasts longer then any condemning ever would. The kind of joy that puts an extra pep in your step. The kind of joy that comes from being filled with Christ-like love.

Today as you notice the negative in those around you see if you can separate who they are from what they do. Look for the good that might be in their motives. And if nothing else love them anyway.



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