Thanks to my job I have been in monthly contact with someone who is completely different than me. This person and I have incredibly different standards, we have different morals, we have different ideas of right and wrong, we have different views of the world and what is appropriate and inappropriate. The two of us could not be any more opposite. When I first met this person, it was a blind meeting. I’d never met this person or heard of this person, before. I’ve learned in these situations to never have expectations – it typically just goes better that way. So just like everyone else, I held no expectation. After the initial awkward ‘hello’s’ and ‘how are you’s’ we got a little more personal with each other since we’d be spending a few hours with each other every few weeks. We began asking about each others day-to-day life and I harmlessly asked the person what their job was, and when they responded, I was floored. I am almost certain my jaw literally dropped to the floor and my eyes bugged out of my head and I blushed so badly my entire body went red. My mind went blank and all I could think to say was, “oh,” in response to the job. (I’m so mature)
The next few days I found myself thinking a lot about this person. I couldn’t wrap my brain around living a life like this person did and somehow feeling ok in their skin. The more I talked to this person on that day, as well as all the other days we’d talked, the more I found myself judging this person and everything they did. I didn’t approve of or agree with their life. None of it. The stories of their weekend, their work life, their love life, their friendships, their thoughts and ideas, etc all make me feel so proud of myself for being “better” than this person. I knew it was bad to think in this mindset, but I did, nonetheless. This individual was not living the commandments. This person was certainly not following Christ’s example. This person feared man more than God. To me, this person was just…bad and in result, left me feeling prideful, more ‘perfect’ and big-headed. After a month+ or so of these thoughts and judgements, I realized I was not feeling the spirit very well. Especially when I thought of this new acquaintance. At first I decided it was because this person had flooded my mind with negativity, but it didn’t take me very long to realize this was the wrong answer. It wasn’t this persons fault I wasn’t feeling the spirit. It was mine. I knew I wasn’t feeling the Savior’s love as strong because I was doing the exact opposite of what the Savior would want me to do. I was judging someone and I was judging them hard.
That night I prayed and asked Heavenly Father if he could help me love this person. Just because this person wasn’t like me didn’t mean I had to judge them, compare myself to them and have negative feelings towards them. I could still be a friend, or even just a nice acquaintance — and maybe a good example, someday. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I continued to pray that somehow I could be as kind to this person in my thoughts as I was to this person in real life. I was suddenly aware that when I thought of this person and thought about how I was ‘better’ than them and compared myself to them I saw that I was falling deeper down into the trap that the temptation of judgement sets. Heavenly Father doesn’t judge us by comparing us to one another, He compares us to ourselves and our capabilities and how we are doing on our own personal journey.
I found myself still slipping into negative thoughts bout them. So one day I decided to seek some council from a man who’s opinion I greatly value. I told this man the whole, detailed story. I told him about this persons job, lifestyle, choices, etc and then told him how I’d be feeling about this person. I followed up by asking, “should I just cut all ties or continue to see ______, regularly?” The answer to my question from this inspired man really helped me out. He said, “I feel like you’re really hung up on (this persons) career choice and (this persons) relationship choices. If they had a different job and a more traditional love life, would you like _____?” I knew the answer very quickly was yes. Had I not known this persons career and such, I would have adored this person. I’m typically very easy to get along with and I really don’t judge people, often, but this situation was different and I think it was because I’d never actually met someone with this particular career choice. The answer to this question I’d asked helped me see I was judging this individually purely based on a few aspects of their life. Only a few details I knew about them. Grant it, that didn’t mean I agreed with anything this person did, but it also helped me remember there is more to a person than their beliefs, hobbies, opinions and life choices.
Since then, I have tried so hard to judge this person more on their character than their choices, more on who they are than what they are. I read an article about this subject that said, “If your favorite color is green and your peers favorite color is red, does that mean that because you’ve chosen different colors to favor and have different opinions on why your color is superior to the other color, that you should hate, judge or scorn them?” Halloo, revelation! Its like that quote was written just for me. …and I love it. I have it typed into my phones notes so if I ever slip back into the awful temptation that is judgement and comparison, hopefully it can pull me out of that gross slump.
As always, I have so much room for improvement, but I am trying to get better. I am trying hard not to judge this person in a negative way, anymore, along with everyone else I see and come in contact with. I wouldn’t want them to judge me – and aren’t we taught to treat others how we would want to be treated? Judgement is more certainly a temptation of mine, but I am determined to get over it.
“None of us is perfect. I know no one who would profess to be so.” -Thomas S. Monson