Judge Not

I have a sister who decided to serve a mission several years ago. Her mission call was to Spain which is exactly where she would have chosen to go. Unfortunately there were problems with her Visa and she was sent to Mexico City instead. I was very pleased with her decision to serve a mission. I felt that she had some good teaching talent and a good testimony as well. She was very quiet and introverted and I thought the experience of going on a mission would be great for her.

A few months into her mission she started having some problems. She went to a doctor who misdiagnosed her problems as depression. The medication she was given made things worse and she ended up coming home from her mission early. When she got home she was able to get the help she needed. What she was experiencing was panic attacks. Through some proper medication and coping techniques she was able to get on in life quite well. She graduated from college, got married, had kids, and seems to be doing quite well. I am sincerely happy for her.

At the time she came home (I had previously served a mission) I wondered how she could have let this end her mission. I questioned her toughness, testimony, motivation, etc. I kept these feelings to myself. I wanted to be supportive but did not know what to say or how to say it so I basically kept my mouth shut. If you can’t say something nice….

Now for the rest of the story.

A few years later I was a senior in college. It was one of the most stressful times of my life. We had our first child – stress (stress was not the child’s name of course). I had finals coming up – stress. I had a senior engineering design project that wasn’t going well – stress. I had no job lined up after graduation – stress. And on, and on. Then I started having problems.

When I got in stressful, social situations, and sometimes at random, I would become convinced that I was going to be sick to my stomach. These feelings were so strong and real that I would run for the nearest garbage can or restroom. This even happened during an important college exam. It started ruining my life, and I felt that if something wasn’t done that I may not be able to finish school or be a good provider for my family.

So I went to a doctor who thought I had an ulcer and gave me ulcer medication which didn’t help. I went to another doctor who gave me pills that he gives to women with morning sickness which didn’t help. I eventually began to wonder if perhaps I was having the same type of problem that my sister had, so I went to the psychological services center at the University of Idaho. It was one of the hardest appointments I ever had to make.

I was diagnosed with panic attacks, and with some coping strategies I was able to get along pretty well. But it brought new meaning to the idea of judge not, that ye be not judged. The very thing that I had judged negatively for my sister’s experience had happened to me. No matter how smart you think you are, or how well in tune you think you are to human nature, you do not know what it is like to be someone else. What possible criteria do we think we have to pass judgment on anyone?


At 1/06/2006, Anonymous will said...

Eric, you get my vote for the Post of the Month award. Thank you for sharing this.

At 1/06/2006, Anonymous Brian Duffin said...

Excellet post, Eric.

At 1/06/2006, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

This is perhaps one of the most difficult lessons within Mormonism...one which I am still trying to learn.

At 1/06/2006, Anonymous Geoff J said...

It seems that karma is connected to unrighteous judgment or something in my life. Whenever I unrighteously judge someone God seems to give me a case of the same problem to teach me a lesson or something. Oddly, the scriptures are full of warnings that we are going to get the same judgment we mete out. I think sometimes that happens long before the final judgment (probably due to the mercy of God).

At 1/06/2006, Blogger D-Train said...

Eric, you're a king among men.

At 1/06/2006, Blogger Sarebear said...

Thank you for sharing that.

It brought to my mind something that I don't consciously think about much anymore, but I should (it's in my bones now, at least regarding a certain sin, but I should consciously ponder it more)

There is a certain sin, that people are judged very harshly for, and I used to do the same. And then, when I went off the deep end 11 years ago, and found myself "one of them" who did "that", well, the shoe was on the other foot . . . I had such a hard time with it that it was one of the major factors in my first suicide attempt. Anyway, I think now I can see exactly why the Savior spent time with people "like that" in the bible, and I wish more people would take his view . . .

Thanks for reminding me of this. It is uplifting, and I so need that right now. (Partly because I received confirmation years later of the Lord's forgiveness, and so I don't have to dwell on the horribleness, except that I have yet to forgive myself. But I know that will take time . . .)

At 1/09/2006, Blogger Keryn said...

Eric, I'll bet your sister was grateful that you didn't heap guilt upon her when she came home--even though you felt the way you did. There are many who can't quite do that. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


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