I have found it much more rewarding to think about our final judgment as a situation in which we choose whether we will follow Christ and that choice will depend on who we are--which includes what we "want" as well as the spiritual energy we have to pursue that path. The pattern for this is already set in this life based on the concept of "Repent". That is, we can indeed change, but that effort to change is generally not easy and requires real commitment. Our readiness to change is driven almost exclusively by who we really are at that time. Some individuals change dramatically after they have done something wrong while others become more entrenched in whatever they are doing wrong. Some change slowly but steadily as they move precept upon precept while others change very quickly after making a very determined and committed about-face. However that change occurs, the changes we are willing to make and have the spiritual strength to make (there are those for whom the saying "the spirit is strong but the flesh is weak" is very real and the dominating roadblock to making a righteous change).
When I think of the judgment in this light, I no longer have to wonder whether that person has done enough good things that they will "make it"; rather, I know it is all up to them as to whether when that final judgment of determining whether we have the spiritual strength to truly follow our Savior they will be able to complete the full steps of repentance that requires us to become perfect.
Just as in this life when learning a new language, it takes far more than just skill to become proficient. It requires long-term practice and patient "repentance" until we get it right. A lot of us are willing to quit when we've learned just enough to get by while shopping or eating out.
Everyone has a conscience. And I believe that a large part of that conscience is our ability to empathize with others. Whether you know of Christ or not, you have the ability to imagine what others would feel in a particular situation. This is key to treating others as we would be treated, to loving our neighbor as our self. It seems to me that how we followed our conscience, or ignored it, will figure to a large degree in our judgement.
For all find what the truly seek. Words from C.S. Lewis in the "Last Battle."
I like that view of eternity.
I am of the understanding that being judged brings us to a time of deep self understanding. It is a time of being corrected by the Lord. It is a time of healing. There is time for repentance after death, but unlike earth life, it will be a long time consuming effort. Far better to repent here. It seems knowing this helps me have a bit more sympathy for those who have thrown their valuable time on earth away.
Besides not wanting to be the final judge of another, it's doubtful we could be. The beginning of Section 38, as well as other scriptural sources, declares in the words of the Savior that all things are present before Him. Past, present and future events and acts are all "present" before an Eternal Being. Those of us who are "His people", who have kept our First Estate, are blessed to inhabit this particular earth of the innumerable "earths" shown in vision to Moses. What we have done and accomplished before coming to this short mortality and what we will yet do in "the day of this life" before the end, will all be considered in our judgement by our Supreme Judge. No lesser person is capable of that.
As I stand before The Father (plural) at that Last Day, with my Savior's arm on my shoulders, His declaration to The Father of my worthiness and His atonement on my behalf will be based on an accumulation of what I have done, what I am doing and what I will yet do prior to that judgement. The Savior knows, my Father knows and if I am to live forever in my final state, I will also know with a perfect knowledge af what weight of glory I can assume. Thank you, Brother Peterson, for not presuming to be my imperfect judge.
Thanks for these great insights.
I think one of the reasons the Lord commanded us not to judge is because it is like picking up a burden that is not our's. That is HIS job and He doesn't want us to be troubled with it. Life is so much easier when we let go of criticism and realize we NEVER know all the facts in a situation anyway. As far as where we will end up in the end? I always imagine myself living in a world where everyone else lives the same standards I live--that gives me a pretty good idea of what my final reward will be.
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