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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Positive Proofreading

This is an excerpt from a talk by Elder Oaks, called“Judge Not” and Judging (from the August 1999 Ensign) which I love:

“In a BYU devotional address, Professor Catherine Corman Parry gave a memorable scriptural illustration of the consequences of judging by the wrong standards.The scripture is familiar. Martha received Jesus into her house and worked to provide for Him while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words.

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha,thou art careful and troubled about many things:“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her”(Luke 10:40-42).

Professor Parry said: “The Lord acknowledges Martha’scare: ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things’ (Luke 10:41). Then he delivers the gentle but clear rebuke. But the rebuke would not have come had Martha not prompted it. The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service: ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me’ (Luke 10:40). Martha’s self-importance, expressed through her judgment of her sister, occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal” (“ ‘Simon, I Have Somewhat to Say unto Thee’: Judgment and Condemnation in the Parables of Jesus,” in Brigham Young University 1990-91 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1991], 116).

The great essayist William George Jordan wrote: “There is but one quality necessary for the perfect understanding of character, one quality that, if man have it, he may dare to judge—that is, omniscience.Most people study character as a proofreader pores over a great poem: his ears are dulled to the majesty and music of the lines, his eyes are darkened to the magic imagination of the genius of the author; that proofreader is busy watching for an inverted comma, a misspacing, or a wrong font letter. He has an eye trained for the imperfections, the weaknesses. …

“We do not need to judge nearly so much as we think we do. This is the age of snap judgments. … [We need] the courage to say, ‘I don’t know. I am waiting further evidence. I must hear both sides of the question.’ It is this suspended judgment that is the supreme form of charity(“The Supreme Charity of the World,” The Kingship of Self-Control [n.d.], 27-30; emphasis in original).”

I hope that we will be proofreaders of the positive qualities and attributes of others (and ourselves!) today.
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1 comment:

  1. I like this a lot. I have found that anytime I pre-judge someone, I always find out different later. ALWAYS!

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