JUDGING OTHERS

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Trials and struggles take many forms, many of which are not immediately and visible to those who we associate with or encounter in our lives. Most Trials and struggles that we endure are in fact on a personal and emotional level which we don’t readily share with others. Only our closest friends and family. Some we only share with God on the most personal and private trials of our lives. So why do we dare criticize and judge others when we don’t understand the trials they are enduring, the choices the have before them or any idea of what they are dealing with in there personal lives.

A Recent post on Facebook from a friend of mine got me thinking about judging others and how it comes so easily to some who simply don’t understand or refuse to understand the position that some people are in. This Friend of mine suffers from Sever Depression and anxiety disorder and social phobia and panic disorder as her official diagnosis. Lucky for her she is not pumped full of harmful drugs but rather has a service dog who is ever at her side to help her out when things get bad. She has opted to use alternative forms of assistance rather than let her mind be changed by harmful drugs. I for one am very happy that she has decided on this course of treatment over drugs. Sadly many people have judge her for her choices to not medicate, and have judge her as cruel to animals because she has a service dog and is “making” it work. Often she has been the victim of harsh and hurtful comments such as “just suck it up and deal with it” or “stop faking it”. I cant really put it any better than my friend, so with her permission I will quote her

“It’s hard to explain panic disorder to people. Or why because doctors can’t find any reason why I pass out a lot it can’t be possible. It’s even harder to explain how having a service dog  for it works. I can’t explain it. I can’t give you a logical explanation. All I can say is without a service dog I wouldn’t have a job. I wouldn’t be unmedicated and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Knowing I have the security of having a service dog, knowing she’s going to alert me when I am gunna fall or have a panic attack or even am just getting into an unhealthy state, it gives me a sense of safety. A sense that if something goes wrong people will understand a bit more. People won’t panic because she has instructions in her vest! That when I stagger and fall like a sack of bricks I know I’ll be ok! It’s one of those things that just happens… So next time you open your big mouth and tell me to ‘suck it up’ or ‘get over it’ and to ‘quit faking it’ think before you do it. I’m a patient person but you can only say it so many times before I snap. If you don’t like that I don’t over medicate myself and find alternative measures to solve my issues then too bad! There’s the door out of my life! I don’t need ‘friends’ like you.”

a second incident she explained this way

“Yes my dog is pretty.. thank you
NO! you can not pet her she’s working.. don’t question why and don’t continue to let your child approach her. don’t get mad at me when I passively step between your child and my dog to prevent her from touching my dog and don’t even touch your kid. don’t yell at me that i’m a selfish and horrible person when your child starts to scream and cry and throw herself on the floor because she can’t see the pretty puppy. you only make yourself look bad for yelling at a girl with a service dog in the middle of a mall.. and don’t act surprised when a group of HIGHSCHOOLERS stick up for me and call them disrespectful snotty children… when you say that look at yourself and your child… I have to say thankyou to those highschoolers for sticking up for me I greatly appreciate it thanks!”

Whether intentional or not these kind of statements that people have made towards my friend are harmful and hurt the one we are telling them to and show a judgemental and ignorant attitude towards people who struggles we just cannot comprehend or understand, and in many cases we cant see.

Too often people are swift to judge others without understanding. We see the things they do and say and judge them as good or bad people but do we ever know what choices they did not have when they do something we disagree with? can we ever understand the position these people are in or the emotional state that lead to the decisions they made? When we do judge others too often it is out of ignorance. We think we know better but in reality we know far less about the given issue than the one being judged.

There are circumstances in which judging is necessary, for example, a job interview is all about judgement, are you fit for the job being interviewed? capable of doing that tasks required for the work? is our skill set appropriate for the job? Do we have enough experience for the role we are being interviewed for. At the same time we are often judging the company based on our impressions of the interviewer. We need to be careful in who we spend time with and associated with. It is important to spend time with people who will lift you up and not tear you down. These types of judgements are justified and appropriate and an important part of life, but they should never lead to judging these people as good or bad, wrong or right.

Gregory A Schwitzer of the Seventy put it this way

“We live in a world in which many situations require us to make judgements that are often difficult. Yet the Saviour gave the commandment to “judge not” our fellow man. 1 How can we do this and still exercise good judgement in a world full of deception and corruption? We must judge well when making critical decisions in each phase of our life, such as choosing friends, finding an eternal companion, or choosing an occupation that will allow us to care for our family and serve the Lord. Although the Saviour asked us not to judge others, He still expects us to use excellent judgement.”

We may often find ourselves making quick judgements about people, which can change or redefine our relationships with them. Often incorrect judgements are made because of limited information or because we do not see beyond that which is immediately in front of us.”

Sadly we have an epidemic in our society of rash judgement of others that are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Often what we judge others for is based on the most minor of infractions and not based on any real knowledge of the person being judged. In Mathew chapter 7:1-5 Christ says

 1 aJudge not, that ye be not bjudged.

 2 For with what ajudgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what bmeasure ye mete, it shall be cmeasured to you again.

 3 aAnd why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the cbeam that is in thine own eye?

 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

 5 Thou ahypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

in other words, before we judge other we should ensure that we ourselves are perfect. A state that no one living is in, as we all make mistakes and we all require repentance.

The only way we can counter this insidious path to destruction of rash and unrighteous judgements if forethought, knowledge and wisdom. If we find ourselves in the bad habit of making rash judgements of others we need to turn to God in prayer and seek his help in changing our habits. Search the scriptures and apply the teachings of Christ.

In the book of John chapter 8 vs 3-11 one of my favourite storeys in the scriptures demonstrates Christ’s gospel very effectively about not judging others.

 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a awoman taken in badultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

 5 Now Moses in the alaw commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger awrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without asin among you, let him bfirst cast a cstone at her.

 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own aconscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I acondemn thee: go, and bsin no cmore.

Christ would not condemn or judge the sinner, and neither should we, Lets leave judgement up to God and only he is the perfect judge of all. Only one who is perfect and without sin can Judge righteously.

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By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals

The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Are its members Christian?

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. It is now rated the fifth largest church in America. Given it’s fast growing status and unique origins it has often been the target of intense criticism and doubt. One of the most common points of criticism about the church is that Latter Day Saints are not Christians. I wish to contest this false and misinformed idea about the church, though Latter Day Saints pride themselves on being much different than a typical Christian. I will cover five reasons that are often used to claim that Latter Day Saints are not Christian and demonstrate how those points are wrong or misunderstood.

The first point I would like to cover is that Mormons do not follow or believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible. This is an utterly false accusation and not based on any kind of fact. Mormons follow and believe in Christ in all that they do, say, and preach. Christ is in the very name of the church. When Latter Day Saints are baptized, they take upon themselves the name of Christ and promise to do all they can to live by his commandments. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. In Second Nephi of the Book of Mormon, 25:26 it states “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” In 1842 Joseph Smith sent a letter to John Wentworth, editor and chief of the Chicago democrat detailing thirteen points of doctrine that later became known as the Articles of Faith. The first Article of Faith is “We believe in God the eternal father, in his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.” These two scriptures I do believe make it very clear that Latter Day Saints do believe in Christ, the very same Christ of the Bible.

The second argument is that the Latter Day Saints believe God the Father has a body of flesh and bones. Most Christians believe (based on the Nicene creed) that God has no body, parts or passions, but is some omnipotent form with unlimited knowledge and power and Christ was merely God in human form. In this respect the LDS church differs from other Christian groups, but does so on the authority of scripture. The Latter Day Saints view of God is based in Biblical scripture that He has a body of flesh and bone. Latter Day Saints also believe that He has form. In the Bible we read “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” ( Holy Bible, Genesis 1:27) So as we can see from this scripture, we are created after the image of God. If God is a formless being and we are created after His image as the scriptures suggest, then logically we should be without body, form or passions as well. If a body was neither necessary, nor desirable by deity, then one might ask why then did Christ reclaim his body from the grave and ascend back up to heaven. Christ also stated “Handle me and, see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Holy Bible, Luke 24:39). Elder Tad R Callister of the Seventy from the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints states

Paul taught, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Holy Bible, Romans 6:9). In other words, once Christ was resurrected, His body could never again be separated from His spirit; otherwise He would suffer death, the very consequence Paul said was no longer possible after His Resurrection.

(Tad R Callister, General conference, Oct 2009)

The third argument that Latter Day Saints are not Christians is based on the Latter Day Saints. doctrine that faith is just as important as works for the redemption of souls. This is more than just doing good things and being a good Christian, but rather ordinances of the gospel that must be performed. Many other Christian churches already performs works such as baptism or the sacrament or communion. There are many scriptures in the Bible that support that works are necessary for salvation as much as faith. “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 7:21) We can also read in the Book of James, Chapter 2:17-18, 20,and 26 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone”; “Yea, A man may say, thou has faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”; “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.”; “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (Holy Bible)

The fourth argument that Latter Day Saints are not Christians centres on the Latter Day Saint belief in additional scriptures and continuing revelation. As with other Christian churches the Latter Day Saints believe God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. This being the case, why would he simply stop talking to his children? To say Latter Day Saints are not Christians because they believe in additional revelations and then state that God no longer speaks to his children would seem to suggest that the unchangeable God has changed. During the early years of Christianity shortly after Christ ascended to heaven, the apostles served several missions before they were all driven out or killed. By the definition that Christians cannot believe in continuing revelations and additional scripture would suggest that these early believers were not Christian. The apostles were constantly preaching and presenting new scriptures and clarifying scriptures to the believers at that time. Would any Christian claim that those early believers were not Christians because they believed the words of these apostles when they claimed revelations from God and presented additional scriptures? How is it any different in the Latter Day Saint’s church?

We know that there were twelve Tribes of Israel and that the Bible is the record of the Jews. If God loves all of his children then why would he only reveal his gospel to the Jews? Would he not have had other records made concerning the additional eleven Tribes as well as other people who were not part of Israel? Christ said “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (Holy Bible, John 10:16) At the time that Christ had stated this he had already preached to the Gentiles. That being the case, what other sheep would he have been talking about? Latter Day Saints believe those other sheep are the people in the Book of Mormon.

The final argument that many people like to use is that Mormon doctrine contradicts the Christian teaching of monotheism. A Catholic newspaper (National Catholic Reporter 2001) stated that Latter Day Saint baptisms are not valid because they don’t hold to the belief of the Holy Trinity or

monotheism. This standard view of God as the Holy Trinity was not developed from the scriptures but rather from the Nicene creed. Elder Jeffery R Holland of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Jeffery R Holland, pp 40-42, 2007) explains the Nicene creed as follows

In the year 325 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils) as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible. We agree with our critics on at least that point—that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible. (ensign, 40-42)

There are many examples within the bible and other scriptures that Latter Day Saints hold to which clearly show that God, Christ and the holy spirit are in fact three different and distinct individuals. Some would include the baptism of Christ. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straight way out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lightning upon him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:16-17) Stephen saw Christ on the right hand of God in a vision. “ But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven,

and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, behold, I see the heavens opened, and the son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Holy Bible, Acts 7:55-56). Elder Tadd R Callister stated

…God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate, distinct beings. The Bible… tells us that the Son submitted His will to the Father (Holy Bible, Matthew 26:42)…., but what would have been the depth and passion of Christ’s submission or the motivational power of that example if the Father and the Son were the same being and in reality the Son was merely following His own will under a different name? The scriptures give further evidence of this great truth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Holy Bible, John 3:16). It is symbolized by the touching story of Abraham and Isaac (Holy Bible, Genesis 22). But if the Father is the same being as the Son, then this sacrifice of all sacrifices is lost, and Abraham is no longer offering up Isaac—Abraham is now offering up Abraham. (Tad R Callister, General Conference, Oct 2009) The Latter Day Saint doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two different beings is clearly supported in scripture.

While Latter Day Saint doctrine is much different in many aspects of their faith their are also many similarity’s between Latter Day Saints and other Christian churches. Latter Day Saints share a belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Latter Day Saints believe in the importance of baptism and regularly take part in the sacrament or communion as do other Christian churches. Latter Day Saints share a belief in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and that through him we may return to dwell with God in Heaven. Boyd k Packer (LDS Apostle) said “The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Does that not make one Christian?

 

By Andrew McLean Posted in Orginals