Judgment and the Natural Man

It can be easy to be judgmental of those far away and different from us. We are manifestations of that in the anti-refugee policies that the current administration is pursuing. However, it is sometimes even easier to be judgmental towards those closest to us such as our spouse or children.

As Elder Robbins explained, “The natural man and woman in each of us has a tendency to condemn others and to judge unrighteously, or self-righteously.”

At least for me, it is easy to get frustrated when things are not like I wish and to lash out in anger at those I care about most.

But that is not the Lord’s way:

“Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love” (D&C 121:41–43).

This scripture teaches us to reprove “when moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” not when moved upon by anger. The Holy Ghost and anger are incompatible because “he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger” (3 Nephi 11:29). President George Albert Smith taught that “unkind things are not usually said under the inspiration of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is a spirit of kindness; it is a spirit of patience; it is a spirit of charity and love and forbearance and long suffering. …

“… But if we have the spirit of fault finding … in a destructive manner, that never comes as a result of the companionship of the Spirit of our Heavenly Father and is always harmful.

“… Kindness is the power that God has given us to unlock hard hearts and subdue stubborn souls.”

That is such a hard teaching and yet it is such a vital one. Unrighteous judgment is a deeply destructive force. Unconditional love on the other hand has immense power to heal and help.