Friday, October 17, 2014

We Judge People Way Too Much, Even When We Try to Judge Righteously

I've always differentiated between judging people (making decisions about their individual worth here and where they will end up after death) and judging actions (what people do).

There is no way to get around judgment of actions - except for psychopaths, who don't have the capability to judge actions. That type of judgment is unavoidable. There also is no way to get around having those judgments influence our interaction with others, since, for example, if I know someone has sexually abused children, I simply must consider that fact at the very least if I have children the same general sex and age as those s/he abused. To not consider those actions and make a judgment about subsequent actions in such a situation is unthinkable.

However, "to judge someone" means, legally, to act like a judge and make a final determination about someone that determines official standing for that person - and which, in real terms, imposes or does not impose limits on that person. It is making a decision that literally affects someone else's agency in situations that don't involve the one making the judgment. I do not judge someone in this way by keeping my kids away from someone who has abused kids in the past - but I do judge someone in this way if I assume s/he will not and cannot change ever, assert that nobody who has done such a thing ever can repent and insist that Hell is the only possible outcome for all of "them".

Did Hitler do horrible things? Yes. Does a part of me assume he will end up in the Telestial Kingdom? Sure. Am I open to the possibility that there are things about his situation that I don't know and, therefore, that he might not end up in the Telestial Kingdom? Yes. Can Hitler be saved? I believe he has been, since I believe in the Biblical statement that all are saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a very real and important way. Can he be exalted? As much as I want to be able to answer that question in black-and-white terms with a resounding, "Absolutely not!!" I just can't put myself in the position of his judge and make that call.

That is the judgment I try to avoid, especially when it comes to projected results after death. That's why, "Damn you!" is such a heinous curse in our scriptures - in that it puts someone in the place of God and pronounces final judgment on someone else.

I always try to remember that I have no freaking clue, really, why others act as they do. I have a hard enough time figuring out why I do what I do. Thus, while I can't avoid judging actions in a real way, I try very hard not to presume to know the motivation or cause of those actions - which leaves "final judgment" to God.

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