Recently some members visited another ward’s Sacrament Meeting to attend a farewell of a relative. Once the meeting was over, they headed to their car to drive back and attend the last two hours of their ward, opting out of the cultural tradition of skipping the last two hours of church to mingle. As they were leaving, someone said to one of them, “Do you think you are better than us?”
It seems like every few months an article pops up on the web about judging others. The author shares an eye-opening story that drives home the point that we never know what someone else is going through, so we shouldn’t judge.
We frequently judge people for things they are doing wrong or look down on them for things they are not doing. What about the flip side of that coin?
Have you ever judged somebody because they are following the commandments in a different way than you? Have you ever thought they had a “holier than thou” attitude when perhaps they are just living the way they feel is right?
The story of the family attending the farewell shared above is a perfect illustration of what I hope this article will open your eyes to – and it’s this message: Just because people “saint” differently than you, doesn’t mean they think they are holier than you are.
I’ll give you another example.
Do you wear Sunday clothes all day long? Ever since my mission, I have. For me, it’s an outward action that helps me set the day apart from every other and affects the activities I participate in on the Sabbath. It’s a good reminder to focus on doing things that the Lord would have me as I dedicate this day to Him.
Do I think I am better than someone who has their tie off and sweatpants on before the garage door is shut? I don’t.
The last thing I want to do is make others feel uncomfortable, or have them think I am looking down on them because I chose to honor the Sabbath this way. At the same time, I don’t want to be labeled as someone “holier than thou” because I choose to saint differently than someone else.
The list of ways to be a saint is endless. I’ve become aware of countless ways people are sainting differently than I am, and I choose to learn from those as opposed to getting defensive about my own choices.
Some other common examples of people sainting differently are people who:
- Abstain from meat because of their interpretation of the Word of Wisdom
- Don’t watch popular televisions shows and movies because they deem them inappropriate
- Don’t attend sporting events, work, or play outside on Sundays
- Chose to attend all three hours of meetings when there is a baby blessing or farewell
- Skip the Super Bowl party
The list could go on and on.
We are all doing our best. We’re all at different points along the path of righteousness, and we are all given light and knowledge and are asked to live according to the dictates of our own conscience.
In doing so, we must ensure that the way we choose to live is a life we are comfortable with, so that we aren’t concerned with what others think of us, and we aren’t tempted to cast judgment on the way others live.