This is a scripture written in the last book of The Book of Mormon. And as you know, I'm sure, there are many verses written in The Holy Bible just like it.
Recently I was reminded how important this teaching is and how making unrighteous judgments against our neighbors, friends and family can have unpleasant consequences.
In our ward (Mormon word for congregation) there is a beautiful sister (Mormon word for fellow female ward member), both inside and out. She is righteous, strives diligently to keep the commandments, magnifies her church assignments and is one of the most gifted school teachers I know.
I once heard another woman say unkind things about her, but thankfully, I had gotten to know her, and was able to recall the saying that there are two sides to every story. Fortunately I wasn't caught in the judgment trap.... that time. The 10-year-old boy wasn't so lucky, however, and had to learn his lesson the real-life way...
As it just so happens, this woman is the 5th and 6th grade teacher at the 10-year-old boy's elementary school and he was absolutely terrified of her. He had heard the rumors for two years and he requested that I home school him again, rather than send him into her den of lions.
I told him that the 14-year-old boy had had her in 6th grade and that not only had she loved him, he loved her as well. The 10-year-old boy said that she must have changed then, because all of his friends in 5th and 6th grade couldn't be wrong.
I repeated to him that I would never even consider home schooling him when he had the opportunity to go to a Mormon-sponsored, dual-language school and that he should put that thought out of his mind immediately, and that he should give her a chance.
He remained terrified for two years... until the first day of 5th grade.
From that day until this day, some five weeks later, he has done nothing but daily talk bout how "cool" she is, how it's awesome that she lends them movies, that she is funny, and that she lets them do things the other teachers don't, like lie on the floor and tell jokes for "laughing therapy".
After his first week of school, I said, "10-year-old boy, now do you wish you hadn't've listened to all those other kids and what they said about your teacher? Didn't I tell you that she was awesome?"
"Yeah," he replied, "But it's not my fault all those people were sayin' bad stuff about 'er!"
"Yes, 10-year-old boy, it is your fault, because you listened to them and you believed them before giving her a chance. I hope this has taught you to not believe the gossip you hear and to get to know someone before you form an opinion about them."
He kind of put his head down and gave an embarrassed smile, then walked away.
And last week, eight days before her birthday, he planned a surprise party for her, made chocolate white chocolate chunk cookie dough for her, rolled it into little balls, flash froze them, then put them into a Ziploc bag. Then, this morning, the day of her birthday, he baked them so they would be nice and fresh for her party.
Just thinking about this puts a lump in my throat and makes me want to shed tears joy because he has learned something that most of us are still trying to grasp. He loves her and I'm so thankful that his heart was open enough to put aside all the things he'd heard and see the good in her.
I could learn something from the 10-year-old boy.
Thanks for listening.
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