I am a sinner. Worse than I knew. These chapters of the Book of Mormon start with the Sermon on the Mount. We compare 3 Nephi 12-14 with Matthew 5-7. The Lord is sharing his direction with the Nephites. There is a lot in the Sermon on the Mount. A lot to learn from to interpret and discuss. One thing jumped out at me this week. One sin I am guilty of. That I see the consequence of sometimes right away, but I just learned that unless I change my prideful sinning ways I am going to have a harder time bypassing the repercussions of this particular sin on Judgement Day.
I will illustrate the knowledge I have of the earthy consequences I have had from this sin along with a story of some of my earliest memories of doing this. It was even before the age of accountability. I was in my first day of kindergarten. The other children and I were sitting on our squares on the floor in the room. The ceiling seemed so high up. The walls were decorated for a typical kindergarten room. I loved the big color squares that seemed to my young self to be higher up on the wall than the roof of our house would be. On the other side of the room up so high were individual squares with each child’s name on them. We were asked to find our names and indicate when we found them. I found mine right away. I knew how to spell my name and even write it. I was very familiar with my name. The girl next to me was named Amy. She could not find her name. She didn’t know how to spell it. I found her name. Then I sinned. As I tell you what happened next see if you can determine why 33 years after the fact I still think sweet little 5 year old Shawndel was a sinner.
I found my name, then Amy’s name, and I thought to myself, “Wow, her name is Amy it is only 3 letters and she can’t even find it. My name is Shawndel and it is 8 letters and I found it right away. Mine is the longest in the class and hers is the shortest.” I might have even thought her dumb at the time. I might have gone on to point her name out to her or to the teacher when she could find it when she was asked. I am not sure. However, I do know that I knew then (or maybe later that day after talking to my mom about my day) that I did something wrong.
In second grade at about 8 years old I was made to sit in the front seat of the school bus. I hated it. I could not stand sitting being the bus driver because I could not look away from her terrible huge gross disgusting neck mole, with long black hairs protruding out of it. It grossed me out. My brother knew it and would tease about it. Moley moley moley, you had to sit by moley. All I knew about Moley was that she had a mole and I did not like her for it. Flash forward 5 years or so and guess who has a mole on their neck. Yep, me. Eww. But not eww, it is karma for my sin. Or just a part of me.
I always feel as I superficially judge other people the Lord finds a way to work that particular thing back into my life and gives it to me as a direct punishment or maybe more accurately as a lesson for me. 3 Nephi 14:1-5 tells me that my punishment will be far greater than the consequences I am seeing now. It is repeated all throughout the scriptures In Moroni 7:18, Matthew 7, Luke 6:37, the Doctrine and Covenants, and on and on.
We are admonished to not judge others. We are further informed that as we judge we will be more harshly judged less we repent. We are also counselled to judge not superficially but righteously. (Some types of judging can help us and keep us and our children out of harm’s way.) The kind of judging I am guilty of is the sin the Lord is counselling me of in 3 Nephi and all of these other places.
I judge all-the-time. I am a harsh judge of myself as well. I know I am a hot mess. I know that I am fat. I know I am not the prettiest face in the room ever. I know I have crazy man hairs that try to spring out of my gross neck mole. I know I should not judge but try to better myself. The Lord has counselled us to not do this.
What steps do you take to avoid judging others? How do I change a 35 year old habit? (Yes, 2 years earlier than my kindergarten story I judge my Sunbeam teacher.) I pray. All the time. And I just found a great resource to help me overcome this sin and realize that I need to let it go and not be prideful. I need to get the beam out of my own eye. The Scriptures are a guide. They can help me. And you.
But, seriously what other advice do you have?