Why so quick to 'judge' others?

Edited to focus more on what I learned and not so much on the back story that triggered the 'ah-ha' moment for me.

I recently pondered why the phrase, "Stop judging" gets thrown around so often. I've been accused of 'judging' others mostly in my online interactions with others (on facebook or babycentercommunity.com). On the flipside, many people I interact with in real life (in my LDS ward for example) have expressed their appreciation for me NOT being judgmental of them even though others have made harsh first judgments about others with multiple body piercings, tattoos and substance addictions.

It has caused me concern that on one hand I am being accused of being judgmental and on the other hand I am being applauded for not judging - there is definitely an inconsistency out there and I wanted to figure out what it was.

As Tips was getting ready for bed tonight, I was trying to talk the situation out with him and he really just wanted to go to sleep so he wasn't really interested. It dawned on me that what I viewed as stating the obvious had been incorrectly construed by others as 'judging'. More correctly, in situations where it has happened, my accusers basically have said I was condemning (they used the word 'judging' when in reality they meant 'condemning') others for their actions when it was never my intention to condemn anyone!

First of all we are all at different spiritual levels and so I am obviously not going to hold some people to the same level I hold myself, (well... maybe Tips, but I would think that since we are spiritual equals I can hold him to the same level I hold myself to!). Secondly, despite anyone's current bad choices I know the Atonement of Christ is real. The ability to change and overcome weaknesses is possible through Him. Satan tells us otherwise. He tells us that we have no hope of repenting of past mistakes/sins/weaknesses. I know this because I experience a change of heart on a continual basis.

Tips went to sleep but I had to figure this out tonight or I wouldn't be able to sleep! It was too late to call my mom or my sister - but there is always babycentercommunity.com and facebook! I posted a thread on babycenter about it and then decided to post this on FB as my status:

Yvonne wonders: when did stating the obvious turn into 'judging' someone or hurting that person's feelings???

and then I decided I should use a real life example of stating the obvious of a bad habit - but I didn't want to offend anyone for fear they would think I was judging them, so I used my own bad habit as an example. I think that as you read what I typed (which came to me as I was in the midst of typing it as my ah-ha moment) you'll hopefully see when it dawned on me why others perceive me as being judgmental when I am not.

If someone was to say, "Yvonne picks her nose" (which I do) I wouldn't be offended or have my feelings hurt. Embarrassed, yes... Ahhhh...
that's why - because it's something I know I shouldn't be doing anyway and then I would feel like someone thought less of me because they actually pointed it out. And since I'm a prideful person that embarrassment would then turn into anger/denial and I would then tell myself that they were judging me because they pointed it out to me. It's too bad my mom only points it out in the hopes I will quit doing it so that I will come across more refined in public. She was only trying to help and then I am quick to accuse her of being 'judgmental'. This is only somewhat hypothetical - insert any other undesirable behavior for nose picking and that explains a lot about why people get defensive when you are actually only trying to offer support/help for a loved one who is struggling with human weakness.

Such an amazing insight to understand for me - especially since repeatedly in my life what I have said or typed has been taken the wrong way. The only time me being blunt didn't offend people was on my mission and I think that was because the Spirit made up for most of my inadequacies.

Since I posted my thread on babycentercommunity.com, a fellow board member shared Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk, "Judge not" and Judging. It is a VERY insightful article and Elder Oaks explains further the difference between intermediate judgments based on righteous principles which we are allowed to make and final judgments (or condemning), which we are NOT allowed to make as only God can make those judgments. 

For intermediate judgments he said: 

We all make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing how we will spend our time and our money, and, of course, in choosing an eternal companion. Some of these intermediate judgments are surely among those the Savior referenced when He taught that “the weightier matters of the law” include judgment (Matt. 23:23).
The scriptures not only command or contemplate that we will make intermediate judgments but also give us some guidance—some governing principles—on how to do so.

He then went onto give guidelines for intermediate judgments - there are seven in all but I want to share the first two as they have been very applicable in many situations I have been in time and time again:

First, a righteous judgment must, by definition, be intermediate. It will refrain from declaring that a person has been assured of exaltation or from dismissing a person as being irrevocably bound for hellfire. It will refrain from declaring that a person has forfeited all opportunity for exaltation or even all opportunity for a useful role in the work of the Lord. The gospel is a gospel of hope, and none of us is authorized to deny the power of the Atonement to bring about a cleansing of individual sins, forgiveness, and a reformation of life on appropriate conditions.

Second, a righteous judgment will be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest. The Book of Mormon teaches: “For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain … as the daylight is from the dark night.
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moro. 7:15–16).
The Savior taught that one of the missions of the Comforter He would send would be to assist in the judgment of the world by guiding the faithful “into all truth” (John 16:13; see also John 16:8, 11).


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