In 3 Nephi 14:2-5 it very clearly states that we are not to judge others. Yet in verse 6 it says “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs”… in order to determine who are “dogs” and not worth of laying holy things in front of don’t we have to make judgments about them?
Let me offer another verse or two regarding judgment, then we’ll talk.
For one example, intermediate judgment helps us protect our children and loved ones from harm
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
These two verses at first could seem to be opposed, however in a talk, Elder Jefferey R. Holland offered a term I haven’t heard before in explaining this very subject. The term he used was ‘intermediate judgment’. He offered this term in contrast to ‘final judgment’ which, of course, none of us are qualified to give. However, intermediate judgment is a tool we use all the time. At least we should be.
For one example, intermediate judgment helps us protect our children and loved ones from harm. We use it to judge the friends our children are making at school. While not condemning the individual, we are judging whether or not we feel our children are best served by spending time with them.
I think Moroni summed it up best in these verses.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
The truth is we must make judgments all the time. We just don’t call them that. We usually call them decisions. I prefer to look at it this way. We must make judgments within ourselves about the actions and statements of those around us. We cannot judge the individual, but we can judge what they say and do. These are the things Moroni was referring to, though they also apply accurately in larger scales and in more general terms as well.
I have several non-member friends that I think very highly of. Each of them, to one extent or another, contradicts the commandments of Christ quite regularly, yet I still love them. How can I do so? By rejecting what they do and say that is contrary to what I believe and know to be true. There is much in each of them that is yet good and wonderful, and for that I am grateful.
I cannot condemn them, for there is unrighteousness in my own life as well. However I know each of them well enough to understand what truths I can discuss with them and what truths I should keep to myself until they are prepared for it. It may seem a fine line to walk, but then, the path to Heavenly Father has been called ‘The strait and narrow’ for a reason.