"We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children," said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency in his address Sunday morning.
"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon," he said. "When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm — please apply the following: Stop it!"
Offering a talk titled, "The Merciful Obtain Mercy," President Uchtdorf said strained and broken relationships are as old as humankind itself. "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. Of course, we know this is wrong."
President Uchtdorf said people can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And they don't like it when others judge them. "But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous, and our judgement as reliable and only appropriate."
President Uchtdorf said the minute "we judge others, we condemn ourselves."
"Refusing to forgive is a grievous sin — one the Savior warned against. ... When the Lord requires that we forgive all men — that includes, of course, forgiving ourselves."
He asked members of the congregation to forgive so they can be forgiven. "Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves?"
Forgiving, he said, 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 about."
President Uchtdorf said the more Church members allow the love of God to govern their minds and emotions, 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."
The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath "from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortal who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other."
He said in a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. "Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones. Let us be kind. Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully with each other. Let the love of God fill our hearts. Let us do good unto all men (Galatians 6:10). ...
"Let us, as disciples of Jesus Christ, return good for evil. Let us not seek revenge or allow our wrath to overcome us. ... As member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever we may be, let us be known as a people who have love one to another" (see John 13:35).
President Uchtdorf said there is enough heartache and sorrow in this life without adding to it through stubbornness, bitterness and resentment.
"We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way.
"Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord's way.
"Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.
"Lay your burden at the Savior's feet. Let go of judgement. Allow Christ's Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another. The merciful will obtain mercy."