Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when the rising generation is taught to practice the principles of mercy and forgiveness instead of judging others. Children, youth, and adults must understand that we are all humans with individual weaknesses as well as strengths. This means that each of us will say or do something dumb or mean sometime and will need mercy.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment." (See "The Merciful Obtain Mercy," Ensign, May 2012, p.70.)
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ taught this principle to his disciples: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7). Since we all fall short of the people we should be, we are all in need of mercy!
The Lord revealed the importance of forgiveness and mercy to the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
"And ye ought to say in your hearts - let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-11).
President Uchtdorf continued, "This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following: Stop it!
"It's that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don't know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, `Don't judge me because I sin differently than you.'"
A little later President Uchtdorf taught: "Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking - even a change of heart. But there is good news. This `mighty change' of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives….
"When our hearts are filled with the love of God, something good and pure happens to us…
"The more we allow the love of God to govern our minds and emotions - the more we allow our love for our Heavenly Father to swell within our hearts - the easier it is to love others with the pure love of Christ. As we open our hearts to the glowing dawn of the love of God, the darkness and cold of animosity and envy will eventually fade."
When parents, teachers, and other leaders teach the rising generation to show mercy rather than being judgmental, our children and youth are more likely to arrive at adulthood with a merciful attitude. We can each leave the judging to God and to spend our time and energy doing good to all mankind. By teaching mercy in our homes and communities, we can become stronger.