“Oh, she’s so judgmental!” This common claim is against anyone looking down on another with sharp criticism. Of course that is wrong. Every soul is of great worth and should be treated respectfully. But sadly, some think that we must accept any moral perversion as acceptable behavior in order to be non-judgmental. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, clarified this issue in Matthew 7:1 [JST]. He said, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment.” We must make judgments constantly to differentiate between right and wrong. But this kind of judgment is not punitive; rather, it is merciful. We love the person, not necessarily the behavior. How we disagree is a measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Savior. I can extend compassion without embracing the worldly philosophy that anything goes. “[Being non-judgmental] is a very good quality if it doesn’t mean confounding good with bad, and thinking nothing matters” (Mrs. Oliphant, The Marriage of Elinor). So, how do I make righteous judgments? Dallin H. Oaks offers these helpful guidelines:
- Seek the guidance of the Spirit in our decisions.
- Limit our judgments to our own stewardships.
- Refrain from judging people until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts.
- As far as possible, judge circumstances rather than people.
- Apply righteous standards.
- Remember the commandment to forgive.