- The natural man and woman in each of us has a tendency to condemn others and to judge unrighteously, or self-righteously.
He speaks about the role of a Bishop in the church. He is a judge in Israel and is to listen, have compassion, and understanding. He is to show a strong love for the person confessing and to act in the same manner the Savior would in helping people overcome the sins they have committed.
- A righteous judge would respond to confessions with compassion and understanding. An erring youth, for example, should leave the bishop’s office feeling the love of the Savior through the bishop and enveloped in the joy and healing power of the Atonement—never shamed or held in contempt. Otherwise, the bishop may unwittingly drive the lost sheep further into the wilderness.
But a bishop also has a responsibility to discipline in order to make right what has been done wrong. But He must look to disciple in the Lord's way which means to help the person recognize the seriousness of their sin and the cost the Savior has paid to allow their forgiveness.
- However, compassion doesn’t nullify the need for discipline. The word discipline comes from the Latin word discere, “to learn,” or discipulus, “learner,” making a disciple a student and follower. To discipline in the Lord’s way is to lovingly and patiently teach. In the scriptures the Lord often uses the word chasten when speaking of discipline. The word chasten comes from the Latin castus, meaning “chaste or pure,” and chasten means “to purify.”
- In the world, it is an earthly judge who condemns a man and locks him in prison. In contrast, the Book of Mormon teaches us that when we willfully sin, we become our “own judges” and consign ourselves to spiritual prison. Ironically, the common judge in this case holds the keys that unlock the prison gates; “for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation.” The proceedings of a righteous judge are merciful, loving, and redemptive, not condemning.
Sacrifice is a key component to being forgiven. Christ's mercy and forgiveness is freely given but to obtain them, we need to seek for healing and make changes that will allow the Savior to change our hearts and desires.
- Through the sweet irony of sacrifice, we actually gain something of eternal worth—His mercy and forgiveness and eventually “all that [the] Father hath.” As part of the repentance process, sacrifice also acts as a healing balm to help replace “remorse of conscience” with “peace of conscience.” Without sacrifice, a person may find it hard to forgive himself or herself, because of a lingering consciousness of something withheld.
Parents have a special responsibility to judge righteously with their children. Loving discipline is necessary to help guide and direct our children in the right path.
- The principles of righteous judgment apply to all of us, especially to parents who have a daily opportunity to use these principles with their children. To effectively teach a child is the very essence of good parenting, and to lovingly discipline is the very essence of being a righteous judge.
Elder Robbins concludes with the words of President Monson.
- President Thomas S. Monson has taught us, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” How vital that principle is in becoming righteous judges, especially with our own children.
I have needed a lot of patience in my life over the past couple years as I have had children move into adulthood. Sometimes the decisions that are made are not what I would like them to do. At these moments, I have to consider what the Savior would have me do when I speak to them. I have come to know that condemning them, guilting them into the right decision, or removing their agency, does not build a relationship of love and respect between us. Instead, I have learned that showing compassion, identifying mistakes, and discussing the God given gift of agency are better to helping them understand how to make changes in their life that will being them true, eternal happiness. I may not be the best parent but I am trying to act like the Savior would and lead my children to righteousness because in following the Lord, we will find true happiness in this life and throughout eternity.