72: Good Judgement

Mon Feb 22 21:20:00 EST 2021
Episode 72

Stories in this episode: Brett’s charge to defend a man who has committed heinous crimes is almost too much to bear until a desperate plea to God in the middle of the courtroom restores his hope; As a new judge, Carey faces a crisis of conscience when a temple recommend interview offers new insight; When Jennifer is unfairly judged by her colleagues, the consequences send her into a bitter tailspin that only a vivid dream from heaven can stop.

Show Notes

Stephen Robinson's books:

Believing Christ
Following Christ

Brett's experience defending a man in court who had done awful things taught him about seeing everyone as our Heavenly Father sees them:


Carey's Stake President offered advice that helped him as he faced a difficult hearing:



KaRyn 0:03

Welcome to "This Is the Gospel," an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay.

And I am proud to say that I have only been in front of a judge in a courtroom once in my life. Apparently, if you're trying to kill a spider that drops from the rearview mirror while driving, and you rear end a brand new Jeep in the state of Virginia, you have to show up in court to explain that to a judge, the police, and a courtroom full of only semi-amused onlookers.

And I'm the kind of person that already thinks I'm guilty of things that I haven't done, but this time I actually had done it so I was doubly intimidated to stand in that courtroom and explain myself. I didn't really know what to expect. I was all alone, I was really nervous and feeling really stupid. So when the judge called me to the front of the courtroom to plead my case, I was shaky.

I stood there, I offered my tail of spiders, and woe, and after a surprising amount of good natured laughter from the people in the courtroom, the judge said that she, for one, could totally understand how a spider might distract someone from being fully focused on the road, and that this could have happened to anyone. So she ordered me to pay the court fees, but otherwise, I was free and clear of any charges or additional penalties imposed by the court.

That's not to say that I didn't have any consequences, because I felt those the minute that I saw my car insurance premium spike. Her mercy didn't supplant justice, but I was really grateful that in her determination of the best interest of the law, she was willing to listen to the context of the situation. And I left that courtroom feeling surprisingly better than when I entered, which is saying a whole lot.

Well, whether or not you've had to stand before a judge in Virginia and tell your spider story, this idea of judgment and what constitutes good judgment is something that as a disciple of Christ might be on your mind anyway. We're all facing a really complex world with sometimes seemingly impossible decisions to make. And if it isn't on your mind, then maybe today's theme will give you some space to think about how judgment is connected to our desire to be a better follower of Christ.

We've got three stories from three people who really needed some help honing their understanding of what constitutes good judgment, in the eyes of God. Our first story comes from Brett, a lawyer tasked with defending the indefensible.

Here's Brett,

Brett 2:33

The hard part about being a prosecutor is that there are some times when the things the person accused of are so harsh, that it's really hard to see the humanity behind the allegations. I am an attorney and I have both prosecuted and defended people who were accused of some very bad things.

On the prosecution side, I get to work closely with victims of crimes, I get to see the pain they are going through, and I get to try to help them make sense of it and hopefully get some kind of resolution. I see the horrific nature of the things that the accused has done, and you want to really make sure that things like that get punished in that, people in society have an idea that laws will be followed and that there are consequences.

More often than not, though, in that situation, you do not get to know the alleged offender. Usually they have an attorney and you aren't allowed to talk to them and see the things that led them to where they were. You don't get to see the small acts of kindness or joy or love that they have both received and given to others. You really don't get to see what makes them human. And sometimes that's kind of hard to do, especially when the things they've been accused of are pretty horrific.

There was a time when I was on the defense side, and it started like many cases with the judge reading the things that he was accused of. And even just the nature of the things was pretty lengthy. It was something like 13 pages long, the indictment, and my client had chosen to plead guilty to just about everything.

But in this forum, before that court, the people accused of crimes, my client, was not allowed to simply say, "Yes, I'm guilty to charges 1 through 13 and I accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate, Judge." But rather, the judge needs to go through the conduct in what we call "Providence Inquiry," where the judge needs to make sure that my client understood what the law was, understood all of the definitions, and then agreed to his actions and agree that his actions actually violated the law.

Now, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, you get used to being around some of the most disturbing and criminal conduct that people can do. And you have to look at it and make sure yourself what the law says about those things. So you can either prosecute or defend. And so we were going through this, and usually that doesn't take too long. You can always do that in waves. You can do it for 20 minutes, 30 minutes at a time, take a break, and come back to it when you're feeling up to it.

But in this case, because it was so long, we had just pressed through, and for about two hours, we had been listening and seeing some of the most disturbing things that you can be subjected to.

And as we're going through this, I started to feel literally sick to my stomach. I was getting to a point of almost panic, because it was incredibly unprofessional to throw up in the middle of a courtroom. But what I was more concerned about was my client, because one of the great things that I do love about being a defense attorney is that you get to help some people go through some very difficult things.

In many instances it is the most difficult, embarrassing, humiliating experience of their lives. And this was that for my client, and for him to see how much it affected me, I thought could undermine his confidence in me and my belief in him. And he had already lost so much. He lost his family, he lost his job, he was losing his freedom. He had some elderly parents, and it was unlikely that he would see them again before his prison term ended. And I wanted to be there for him. And so when this was happening, I knew that I had to get up in just a few minutes after that was done, and argue for him, both to argue for leniency–to paint a picture of humanity for him–and also to argue about different things that he was alleged of, that he had not done, and defend him in those.

And so not knowing what to do, I thought, well, maybe I just need to ask the judge for a recess, or, you know, maybe the feeling will just go away. Then I realized that it wasn't. It was getting worse. And so I did the only thing that I can think of, I decided to say a prayer. And in that prayer, I just prayed for Heavenly Father to be with me to help me to know what to do in that situation.

I looked over at my client, and I felt the spirit enter my mind and body with, like, great waves. It was amazing. It kind of lit up my whole soul. And I could see the love that my Heavenly Father had for this young man. It was regardless of the things that he had done, it was regardless of the harm and pain he had caused so many. It was a pure and powerful love. And when I felt that the nausea, the sickness, it just evaporated, like instantaneously.

I was calm, I knew what I had to do, and I was able to get up and argue for him, for mercy, and to paint a picture for the judge to see who he was, not just the things that he had done.

No matter what kind of trial, the situation has stayed with me. I always try to understand and see these people as my Heavenly Father sees them. It's no justification or excuse for whatever they've done, but it helps me to always go back to this to understand that even those who have done some of the most horrific things, that we are very much more similar than we are different. We are all much, much better than the worst things that we've done. And it changed me in a lot of ways. And I'm very grateful for that.

KaRyn 8:54

That was Brett. I can only imagine what kind of spiritual gifts it takes to sit in a courtroom and listen day after day to all the ways that people have hurt one another without losing your hope in humanity.

Brett's willingness to ask for help from heaven, so that he could perceive what seemed absolutely imperceptible in his client, especially as that list of offenses was read, that's a real example to me of truly offering your will to God. And in this particular case, "Good judgment" didn't mean ignoring what was broken in the person sitting next to him. It actually meant that Brett could experience firsthand the dichotomy that comes with being human, which is that we can be capable of doing terrible things, and somehow also be worthy of divine love.

It reminded me of the prophet Jacob, who is given the gift to perceive the evil that lurks in the hearts of his people, while also recognizing the love that God had for them in his desire for them to repent. It was this ability to feel both things at the same time that I think allowed Jacob to speak those hard things, to call those people to repentance, and to do it with a power that could actually change hearts. I personally believe that this capacity to hold space for that dichotomy is exactly why Jesus Christ will be the best "good judge" for you and for me when the time comes to stand before him, and receive our justice, and hopefully our mercy.

And I really hope that Brett's client felt it in some small part through Brett that day. And that we can feel it today in the words of the prophet Jacob, when he says, "Arouse the faculties of our soul, shake ourselves that we may awake from the slumber of death."

Our next story comes from Carey, a new judge who found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place with his first case assignment. Here's Cary.

Carey 10:41

I started law school a little bit later, when I was married and had three small children. And during law school, I learned–I realized, that it was important for me to be a judge, I could be an attorney, but I wanted to be a judge. And I wanted to be a judge because I wanted to make the right decisions. I wasn't as concerned–and still not as concerned about finding out who's right, as I'm finding about what's right.

As a judge, you get to determine what's right, based upon what's in front of you, and then make the right call. A year after law school, I got the chance to become a judge. And I was hired by the state of Oregon to serve as a judge in its administrative law program, dealing with agencies and various government entities.

Just a few months after I became a judge, they started a brand new hearing program involving psychiatric patients at State Hospital. These are patients who have been diagnosed with mental illness and either committed on their own, they voluntarily committed, or usually, it's a court that has said, "You need to be taken care of until you're better."

And in order to meet the patient's needs, they developed a program for patients who wanted to object to the medications that doctors wanted them to take. And so it was called "Informed consent hearings" at the state hospital. The agency asked me to do the first hearing involving the first patient to request a hearing under these circumstances.

I was surprised, and then as we approached the hearing, I was very concerned. I had a bit of a crisis of conscience. What it comes down to is, the patient, who may or may not be experiencing significant psychiatric symptoms is told by the doctor, "You must take these psychotropic medications." And the patient doesn't want to. They don't want to for a very specific reason, it makes them feel horrible. These medications are not lightweight, and they do not feel good.

Having known people who have dealt with these medications, how could I, in my mind, make the decision to force someone to take them? In my mind the picture came of someone being held down and being forced with a needle to take these meds, and it would leave them feeling awful. How could I do that? I was all about justice. I was all about honoring people, I was all about making sure it was the right call. And I was very focused on the end result of "Could I be the one to make the decision that would end up with someone feeling very, very horrible, especially against what they would they would hope for?" It felt like I would be making a decision one way or the other that was bad. There were no good outcomes.

And it did not feel good to me. I wrestled. My heart hurt about the possibility that I would either A, caused this suffering on the person because they'd have to take the medication, or B, cause more suffering on the person because they didn't have to take the medication. It did not feel like I had a good result.

I didn't sleep well for the days leading up to it. I couldn't think about much else, other than what was coming up on my calendar and this decision that had to be made. And I could not think my way through to some answer that would give me peace.

I was very fortunate because our temple recommends we're going to expire that month. And so we scheduled unexpectedly to have our temple recommends renewed with a member of the stake presidency the night before the hearing. That was the stake president who happened to be a career counselor and leader of LDS Family Services. I didn't know about his background before I went to the interview. I only knew that I needed help, and I knew he was one of my priesthood leaders.

And I sat down with him and I did my interview and then I said, "President, I need help." And I shared with him my concerns and I told him all about what was going on, and he shared with me, "Brother Meerdink, that sounds like a very challenging decision to make. So let me ask you some questions." He said, "Why would you require this patient to take the medications? Is it out of spite?" I said, "Absolutely not. I don't hate anybody. I'm not got angry with this person." He asked, "Would you want this person to suffer or to be in pain?" I said no, I don't feel anything about this person. No, none of those feelings. And he said, "Well, why would you make this person take the medications?"

"Well, if that's what the law requires, I'd have to do it." And then the light went on for me. He said, "The requirement of the law is what it is, and somebody has to serve as Judge. And if you are the person who serves as Judge, you must do what the law requires." And then he opened up the gospel light for me, emphasizing that the Savior is the judge for all of us, and that He is perfectly just. He's as just as He has to be, but He's also perfectly merciful, He's as merciful as He can be. And oftentimes, that mercy is how we are treated by the Savior or by the judge. And he said, "The only thing you can do is to treat the patient, like a child of God, just like everyone else in the room. You are not there to judge any person based on their value, you are there to decide whether or not the law has been met. And that's what the Savior does."

It was amazing, the peace I had, being able to sleep the night before the hearing. The tension, it relieved immediately, the confusion, the uncertainty, the fogginess was gone. It helped me to know the result is what it is, based upon the process. And it helped me to understand the importance of my role in the process, in this circumstance, and in my role as a disciple of the Savior throughout my life.

After a long hearing, we adjourned for the day, and I ended the hearing. And so I went back to my office, I considered all of the evidence, I looked through the whole thing and I made my decision.

This experience was a real door opener for me, that . . . that even though I'm imperfect and that I have made mistakes in my life, that that's okay. That the mercy is still there. I think the Savior is much less focused on justice than He is on extending the mercy. I think His interest and the reason He spread His arms wide, was to try to bring us in.

Justice will only keep you away from His mercy if you allow it. There's nothing keeping you from Him.

KaRyn 18:21

That was Carey, I love that line from his stake president, I kind of wish I had it on some sort of T-shirt or mug, "That Christ is as just as He has to be, and as merciful as He can be."

Isn't that so heartening? The judge of all of us, who is perfectly equipped to mete out the correct amount of justice will also offer us as much mercy as He can. And we know from scripture, and especially the Book of Mormon, that Christ's bowels, which represent the very center of His eternal and infinite being, are filled with mercy and compassion toward us. That's a lot of mercy to give. You and I aren't yet eternal or infinite, but I think it's a really good rule of thumb that if we want to become more like our Savior, one way to do that is to ramp up our compassion. To offer just a little more mercy when it's ours to give.

And it's not going to be easy. Frankly, seeking justice comes way more easily to me. Because there are really clear rules in society about what's fair and what's not fair and what should happen to make something right when injustice has occurred. That's comforting and safe. But mercy . . . mercy is real spiritual work. It's nebulous. It requires more of me and more reliance on the spirit to trust that God has got it all taken care of in the end. It's going to take some real effort to lean into mercy. But honestly, if it's good enough for Jesus, then it's got to be good enough for me.

Our final story on good judgment comes from Jennifer.

Jennifer 19:51

When I think about my life, and my career, I think I've faced my fair share of rejections. In fact, sometimes it feels like more than my fair share. And part of that may be that I've chosen kind of a niche job, and so it's tricky to get hired in the fields that I've, I've opted to pursue.

But there was one–there was one rejection that really turned me on my head. It crushed me. And . . . I had been working at this place for a little while. I was temporarily working for this company and hoping for a more permanent position. And an opportunity presented itself that I was so excited to apply for. And I felt like that I'd put forward maybe the best foot that I'd ever put forward, and was really quickly rejected. And it boggled me. I felt like things were going well, I felt like I was well received.

The process of assessing or choosing a candidate for even interviewing is a committee process. And so a group of men evaluate the applicants and then review and make decisions based off of probably a lot of criteria that I didn't understand and thought, frankly, that I was the right person for it, but I was rejected.

And so I wanted some feedback. I took a little bit of time, a couple of weeks to try and process it and then asked my supervisor, if he could provide some kind of feedback. I, by nature, want to please people. So to have felt this rejection, felt like maybe I was not good enough. It was a question of my skills, of my capacity, of things that I felt like I'd spent decades trying to harness. So going into the meeting was incredibly vulnerable for me.

I, I was nervous, I was sweaty, I was a mess. And I remember trying to talk and articulate the clarity that I was seeking. And my words didn't feel clear, like I felt so jumbled, and awkward. And in part, I think I've, I've always kind of struggled being a voice for myself, and to say, "I really want to do this. And this matters." And frankly, our family needed it, so it was pretty intense for me to sit across a desk and to say, "Why?" "Why was I not chosen even to have an interview? What is it about me?" Gratefully my supervisor was very kind. It's his nature.

Still, I struggled through most of the conversation, and when he offered the feedback I was really grateful for it, but I was also very confused, because it felt like . . . it felt like a character attack. And that maybe there was a question about the kind of person that I was. And, again, I think that's an important part of the story is that sometimes, when it matters so much, it becomes more personal. And that, that was hard for me to filter because it felt like a dream. It felt like something I was passionate about, or even a life mission, that I felt called to it. And so there's a lot more at stake.

As I go back and read my journal about that day, I think it took everything I had to not just scream that "You've got to be kidding me. This is, this is what they said about me? And is that who you think I am?" And I think I even said that, "Is that who you think I am?" And he's like, "No, Jenn,. No, that's not who I think you are, Just be patient. And will you give them a chance to get to know you." And I didn't get that.

I just–I wanted I wanted the job then, I didn't want to have to wait another season. There had been years of waiting and years of feeling this same sort of rejection. And and so you make up stories and narratives that start to really weigh on you. And so I started to really question, is this me? Is it them? Who am I really? And I was devastated and defeated.

The field that I've chosen has few women in it. That's shifting, but it doesn't have as many women working in this field. So the committee that was evaluating my application was made up of men. So that became personal. I got mad. I spent a lot of time being really angry, but still working there. And so I was still going to be interacting with these people. And suddenly, I'm needing to go into meetings, and walk in and go, which one of you said that about me? And which one of you hates me the most? And well, that maybe wasn't accurate, that maybe they didn't hate me, but the harshness of the feedback was such that I'm like, Hmm, I wonder who it is.

It was, it was hard. And, and there was a lot of times that even just going to work was hard. I'd anything I could to not have to interact with anyone. I would find ways to enter the building differently, or could I get there really early, or really kind of late? Is there any way to just get my job done without being seen? Yet, at the same time, I felt like they need to see me, to know what they're thinking of me isn't true. And so it was this really complicated process of feeling shame, I felt a lot of shame, actually.

And I remember one day driving, knowing I was going to be in a meeting with several of the people that are on the committee that assesses hiring, or applicants. And I was just in that state. I was mad, I was frustrated, and I just said this prayer of "I'm so tired of feeling silenced and oppressed." And whether that was true or not, it's what I felt. And when I stopped screaming, I, I just held still for a minute. And the Spirit said, "You're not being silenced. I just need you to listen right now." And that, to me, was such a game changer to shift in going–maybe this is a chance to observe, or to understand human nature.

I was so self-absorbed in my pain, that I think it was too hard to look beyond myself, at least in this situation. Again, I'm not trying to negate what I felt or what happened, but I needed to shift. And so that day, it helped to listen. And I left less frustrated, but not healed. But it was . . . it was the beginning.

And there were months like that, where I would know, okay, today's a day that there's going to be high interaction. And I'd have to really gear myself up for it. It was a lot of prep work on those days to just go to work.

Maybe two months after the feedback, I started to keep a gratitude journal. I wasn't to the place yet that I was giving thanks about the people that had offered the feedback. But, I was grateful that I had employment. And that it was, that it was perhaps moving me in the direction of what I was hoping for.

The other thing that I started doing in this process was practicing some self care. And as I started to reflect on some of the feedback, I realized, there's so many things that are just so out of our control in our lives, but that I could take care of myself. And that was an interesting thing. The initial prompts were physical care, sleep and wellness. But it was interesting that those things started to soothe my mind, and I was able to start to surrender–trusting, hoping, that God had a plan in it all.

But it didn't stop that anxiety. I was getting ready for a meeting one night and just–I was so worked up. I just was so tired of feeling so inadequate, feeling like I have to prove myself. And I was ranting about it to my husband and just said my prayers and went to bed. And I'm a dreamer, I've always been a dreamer. I've wondered if maybe that's God's way of saying, look, I can't get through to you unless you're asleep.

And on this particular night, I had a dream and it was really a disjointed dream. But at the beginning of it, I was in a meeting. I was really vocal, which was not typical of me in this context–I can definitely be vocal. And I just kept saying, "I don't see Jesus in this." Everything they were presenting, everything they were talking about, I just kept saying, "I don't see Jesus in this." And then the dream sort of shifted. Suddenly, I was in this crowd of people, and they were pressing and moving. And I'm like, "What's going on?" And they're like, "He's, He's here."

And I'm like, "Jesus? I want to see Him." "Show me Jesus." And it was so cool because I looked and He locked eyes with me. And I woke up, darn it, I woke up. And I fell to my knees and just said, "What do you want me to know? What are you trying to tell me?"

And I just kept saying, "Give me Jesus." And suddenly, I had this new mantra, "Show me Jesus." And I knew that if I could walk into that meeting, and if I could find Him in the meeting, that it was gonna be okay.

And I walked into the meeting. And before I walked in the door, I just kind of touched the doorframe. I remember touching the doorframe, and just whispering, "Show me Jesus." And I just started looking around the room, I had this total shift. And He was there. In the eyes and the faces of each of those people sitting around this table. I still was in a hurry to leave afterward, maybe because I had felt this change, and it started to get easier.

Where every time I started to feel inadequate, or every time I was making this false judgment about myself, or about someone else, and you know what, it's not even just about people at work anymore. It's everybody, that I hear just this simple, "Show me Jesus."

Once I saw Jesus, He became part of everything. And I thought I knew that. And I thought that He had always been in my walk–which He was, he was always in my walk–but that simple "Show me Jesus" shifted everything for me.

A new position came open about six weeks after that, and I wasn't going to apply. I was too afraid. And I actually had someone encourage me and say, "Well, do you want it?" "Yeah." And the advice was, "Well then be patiently persistent, and show them you want it." And so I applied again. And I did my best. I brought this broken offering. And I just laid it out. And I wanted to show them Jesus.

It was interesting to actually sit with this committee at a luncheon while I was interviewing, and to look around and know exactly who had assessed me previously,

And to think that maybe it wasn't so much about them changing, but that there had been such a transformation in me. And that I felt like I was sitting with my brothers, and I loved them. I mean, these are the people that I would call on, if I were in an emergency, I would trust them. And so maybe there was something about their feedback, whether it was accurate or not, that created a context for me to be shown Jesus. And I will love them for that. For the rest of my life.

I got the job. And I wonder sometimes what would have happened had I gotten it in the first place. How different life would have been. Would I have brought Jesus to work with me in the same way that it took something so hard for me to shift, to shift with every person I interact with at work, at home, at play.

I've given a lot of thought to this phrase, "Show me Jesus," and wondered why? Why then, and why that? I think about President Nelson talking about being myopic, and that it's easy to have a really limited perception. It's part of being in a fallen world, that we don't see things fully. And I've often thought–I wonder if maybe what he was trying to teach me then and now, every day, that He sees me, and then I think, is polishing me to be more just or merciful, in other people's wrestle to see the divine in them.

Because I think that's what it all kind of boils down to, is this constant struggle to honor the divine, and to see it in ourselves, but to see in each other. We're all in a wrestle, and if I could just find Him in them, or in anyone, for that matter, that I could see His power to compensate. And that I could change and not worry so much about any judgment, except for His. And that he would take care of that.

KaRyn 36:51

That was Jennifer. "Show me Jesus," what a powerful reminder to seek Him in every single person and every single situation, including the ones where we've been falsely represented or perceived.

I love that she didn't say that our feelings of hurt and betrayal weren't valid or worthy of being acknowledged. When we've been misjudged or our hearts have not been understood, it is healthy and appropriate, to mourn that experience. And I speak from experience, it's really hard, and it takes time to be ready to learn what we need to learn from it.

But I love seeing the progression in Jenn's story from hurt to self care, to reflection, to revelation, to reconciliation. The fact that the colleagues she once hid from, both figuratively and literally, could eventually become like brothers–that's a result of the transformational power of handing our fallen perceptions over to Christ. Handing over both how we're perceived, as well as how we find Jesus in each person that we meet.

I remember the first time I learned that among the more well known conditions of the fall of Adam and Eve, like spiritual separation from God and physical death, we also inherited another condition–a fallen intellect. I was reading Stephen Robinson's follow up to the book, "Believing Christ," which I think I've mentioned is one of my all time favorites.

The book was called "Following Christ," and I stumbled upon this, quote: "We humans trust reason and logic. Some of us trust reason more than we trust God. We have a tendency to think that if we start with what we know to be true and proceed with correct logic, we'll always arrive at correct conclusions. But that is wrong, for human reason is flawed. It is fallen" end quote.

He goes on to share some compelling reasons to understand and believe that our intellect has fallen, along with all the other parts of the fall. And he says, quote, "If we don't maintain a certain humility, and therefore a certain caution about our ability to reason correctly, and thereby to control our own fate, life will wound us dearly. And we are most at risk when we are most sure of ourselves" end quote.

I was only in my early 20's, but I had just finished a mission and graduated from college and I was pretty sure of myself and my ability to reason through most things. Reading that section of the book offered me a paradigm shift that I've never forgotten. Relying on my intellect in matters of judgment would never be enough. And as Brother Robinson says, quote, "Fallen intellect can never arrive at the whole truth on its own. Absent the influence of the Holy Ghost on some level, whether as revelation, inspiration, intuition, or whatever, our reason will eventually lead us to error" end quote.

Our reason, our ability to perceive things without distortion is hopelessly flawed by design. A loving Heavenly Father created a condition in which good judgment is not a function of our earthly reason. It's a function of our relationship to Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. And the only way to access that good judgment here in this fallen world, is to link ourselves inextricably to the spirit, so that when we must, we can discern truth from error with divine perception.

One other thing that's been sparked by these stories for me today is the realization that good judgment is a gift that we can seek after. While only Jesus Christ is qualified to pass final judgment with all his infinite mercy and justice, we can seek to do better in the small courts of our daily lives. We can ask for the ability to feel and to understand the incomprehensible love that Christ has for someone whose actions might otherwise preclude fond feeling. We can ask for the wisdom to fulfill earthly law with as much justice as is required, and more mercy than we thought possible, while also trusting that God's going to take care of filling in the gaps of all of our fallen capacities.

We can ask to find Jesus around the conference room table. And we can ask for clarity against the distortions that plague our self-judgment and our perception of others. And I think that as we practice humble, merciful, judgment now, we'll be way more ready to stand in front of our maker at that final day, at the judgment bar of God, to tell our story without fear, because we'll know some small part of His compassion towards us, because we have felt it towards others.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel," thank you to our storytellers, Brett, Carey and Jennifer for sharing their stories and their good judgment. We'll have more info about each of these storytellers including a link to Stephen Robinson's books, "Believing Christ" and "Following Christ" in our show notes at LDS living.com/thisisthegospel. You can also find us on Instagram or Facebook at @thisisthegospel_podcast.

A huge thank you to everyone who shared the reviews of this podcast and told us about your favorite stories and episodes this past week. And always, we love to hear from you. You can leave a review of the podcast on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. Reviews are super helpful in pushing us up in the recommended section of a lot of platforms so more people can find us.

All of the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers, and we find a lot of our stories through our pitch line. As we're wrapping up production for season three, we don't have any specific themes to share with you. But if you have a story to share about a time in your life, when you learn something new by practicing the gospel of Jesus Christ, we absolutely want to hear from you. We'll be gathering stories and ideas for our next season soon. And the best pitches will be short, they'll be sweet, they'll have a clear sense of the focus of your story and you'll have three minutes to pitch it when you call 515-519-6179.

This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay with story production editing from Erika Free, Kelly Campbell and Sarah Blake our crack team of awesome. It was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix at Six studios, our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts at LDS living.com/podcasts.

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