The other day one of our cars started having problems with acceleration. It seemed to me that gas was not getting pumped into the pistons. It turned out that the computer that sends a message for the gas to release was malfunctioning. I set an appointment up with the garage to fix the car.

While driving to the shop the car started acting up a mile from my destination. No matter how much gas I gave it, the car sputtered along at about fifteen miles an hour. As it was morning rush hour, there were plenty of cars on the road. The truck behind my sputtering car seemed to be about a half-inch off my tail and laid on the horn the whole mile. I could hear horns blaring from behind and knew that a number of drivers were probably swearing, out loud, in their cars. As I sputtered along I wanted to be able to explain to them that my car was malfunctioning but there was no opportunity to do so. Instead I sweated and took the wrath of the angry drivers as they shouted and honked. I’m sure they thought I was a jerk because I was “driving like an old man”. (With all due respect to all the “old men” of the world!)

After pulling into the shop, I stopped and breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I also sat and contemplated how about unfairly I had been judged. My thoughts brought me back to a conversation I once had with another member of the church regarding another driving issue. In my younger days I would get furious when I would get in a traffic jam and then see some guy drive up the shoulder of the road, passing me and all the rest of the frustrated drivers. I wanted to pull out and block his path. In fact I’ve seen that done by others. My friend shared my angry feelings. However, my thoughts changed on this subject when I spoke with another friend who had been caught in a traffic jam and had to drive down the shoulder because his wife was in labor. I had always been so consumed with my own frustration and anger that I had never once thought that someone would do that for a “legitimate” reason.

This takes me back to my sputtering car ride. Perhaps if the other drivers had known that I was going as fast as I could they might not have been so hard on me. But, like my friendly honkers,  most of us make judgments that are usually based on limited information. While teaching the New Testament several years ago, I couldn’t help but glean from the gospels that the Savior’s harshest condemnation came, not for the sinners, but for the Pharisees and Sadducees who were so judgmental and pious. A true follower of Christ not only lives like Him, but tries to lift and inspire others to a higher plateau of living. A few years ago Thomas Monson was speaking to the young women of the church when he said:

“May I speak first about the courage to refrain from judging others? Oh, you may ask, “Does this really take courage?” And I would reply that I believe there are many times when refraining from judgment—or gossip or criticism, which are certainly akin to judgment—takes an act of courage… In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior declared, “Judge not.”  It will take real courage when you are surrounded by your peers and feeling the pressure to participate in such criticisms and judgments to refrain from joining in…The Savior said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (Thomas S. Monson, “May You Have Courage,” Liahona, May 2009, 123–27).

I didn’t like the treatment I received that morning when I was driving my sputtering car to the shop and I suspect no one would. In all aspects of life, often we are not privy to information that would help us see others situations in a more favorable light. Let us remember the golden rule of treating others as we would like to be treated.


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