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Mon - Apr 23, 2007 : 11:12 pm
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Judgmental Paradox
I'm not even sure if that's spelled right. Ohwell..

Two things:
  1. I love the smell of new leather. I went into my car to get my laptop to blog, and the smell of new Mustang GT leather came to greet me. I love it.
  2. I don't appreciate enough the fact that my wife is so emotionally stable. She really is. Serious. Whenever I see someone who has crazy emotions, it causes me to really ponder the blessings I have in who I have married. She's a gem.
Now, on to what I was going to write about anyway. Hmmm...... Judgmental paradox. I was reading D&C 76 (still haven't made it all the way through it), verse 72 when a thought came to me which I have quite a bit: Can we judge other people? If we get so well versed in the scriptures and know of the damnation that follows certain sins, and become so accurate in our ability to discern the character of people... Can we ever get to the point that we can say we can tell someone they're "going to hell" and know we're right?

Well... Here's a scenario I might use to illustrate a point.

Scenario:
  • I witness my twin brother (no, I don't have a twin brother) kill my sister.
I use this totally hypothetical, non-real, fictitious scenario to illustrate a point that to a certain degree, we *CAN* make correct judgments. We can say that this person has done wrong by doing the horrible thing he did. I can pretty much be guaranteed that this person will spend no time unshackled with any of my children, if I have any say in the matter. Yup. I'm perfectly sure I can make those "judgments". Talking about the word "judgment", a good friend of mine calls judgments "observations". I've called them "opinions". I still think they can, with a certain amount of accuracy, be classified as "judgments". Now... Let's take this whole judgment thing to the next level, pointed out in the first paragraph.

Can we accurately say that this person will spend some time in hell? Hmmm... I guess the best way to answer this is: Probably, but not definitely. Ultimate judgment is God's realm. Unless we've walked every second of every day in someone else's shoes, we can't very well say what is in a person's heart, now can we. Heck, even if we HAVE walked that far for that long in someone else's shoes, we still have no power to make any lasting judgment of them in the eternities. We just can't.

Now another part of the "Judgmental Paradox" which brought on the title of this entry is: Can we do the same for ourselves? The answer for this, at least to me, is obvious. I might be wrong, but it'll take quite an argument to convince me otherwise.

Let me start with a story.

About 9 years ago, I was the Gospel Essentials teacher for my singles' ward and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I love getting to the nitty gritties about the supposedly simple stuff (like faith and hope, along with a dash of agency, choice, and the nature of God). Anyway... During one of my lessons I posed the question:

Do we know if we'll make it to heaven? If any one of us in this room should die right now, do we know if we made it in the previous seconds before passing to the other side?

Of course, that's a loaded question - and I had my answer. Here's a possible dilemma:

If you answer "yes" to that question, then that might mean you are putting yourself in the place of God, as your own judge. That might be a bit prideful, don't ya think? Neither do I. The more I type this, the more I honestly think the answer to that question is indeed - "YES".

How do we know this? Well, to be honest, God has given us commandments. He's given us a road map. He's told us what we need to do to make it to heaven, and he's made it at least *available* for us to obtain this knowledge. He has told us what not to do as well. So, using that information, we can (at least as I see it) know if we're on the pathway to heaven or hell.

We've just gotta make sure we don't presuppose that we have the power to do the same for others.