You may have found yourself in some tough situations with gossiping, judging, and more. Learn what you can do when it happens.
In the April 2012 general conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “[The] 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” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign, May 2012, 75).
How can you apply President Uchtdorf’s teachings to your own life? Check out the examples of several Latter-day Saint youth who shared their stories with the New Era (names have been changed). Then read or watch the full conference talk and act on the promptings you receive while doing so.
Situation #1: Ignoring and Gossiping
Jessica moved into a new ward. Though she wasn’t unhappy, she didn’t smile much. Youth in her new ward misread her facial expressions and judged her because of them. By the end of her first Sunday, rumors were already going around that Jessica was mean, and then people didn’t want to be her friend.
What would you do? How would you fix the situation?
Try this: Ashley, the young woman who told us this story, decided to be Jessica’s friend. “I tried to get to know her, and I tried saying hi,” she says. “It made me feel really good when she smiled or started talking with me.” Eventually these two young women became friends. “I realized that Jessica is a great person, and now a lot of people love her. They just misjudged her at the beginning,” Ashley says.
Situation #2: Holding Grudges
Todd and Sam used to be good friends. Then they got in a couple of arguments. None of the arguments was over big things, but they disagreed with each other and each thought the other person was wrong. It was hard for them to let go of what happened.
What should they do?
Try this: After hearing President Uchtdorf’s talk, Todd decided he needed to forgive his friend and let things go (see D&C 64:9–11). Every time he saw Sam, he tried to be nice and act like nothing was wrong. Eventually they both got over their feelings, forgave each other, and became good friends again.
Situation #3: Hating
During her freshman year of high school, Crystal sat next to Samantha in English class. She disliked Samantha because she felt overly annoyed by little things Samantha did.
What should Crystal do?
Try this: Crystal started talking to the young woman and got to know her. “She’s just the sweetest young woman and so nice,” Crystal says. “Now we’re really good friends. For two months I just didn’t like her, and then I realized how sweet she was. And I missed out on two months of knowing this amazing person!”
Situation #4: Gossiping
A young woman in Michelle’s ward had made some bad decisions. She repented, but people in her ward and school judged her for her past mistakes. Wherever she went, the young woman’s reputation preceded her, and many people gossiped about things she had done and even things she hadn’t.
What do you think Michelle should do? What would you do if this young woman were your friend? What if you heard the rumors?
Try this: Michelle decided she would be the young woman’s friend no matter what people said about her. “I think people just need to give her a chance,” she says. “I was lucky to get to know her, and she is such a lovely person. I think it’s unfair that people judge her before they even meet her. Once most people hear the rumors, they don’t even want to be her friend. I think people just have to stop spreading rumors.”
Situation #5: Ridiculing
Cameron got braces during summer vacation. When he came back to school, some of his friends starting picking on him and calling him names behind his back.
What would you do if you were Cameron? What if you were his friend?
Try this: One of Cameron’s friends told the young men to stop making fun of Cameron and then told Cameron that the others weren’t being very nice. Cameron confronted the young men and told them he didn’t think it was funny. They had thought it was a joke, but when they realized it hurt Cameron’s feelings, they stopped.
What Can You Do?
If you find yourself in any of these situations, here are some things you can do:
- Get to know people instead of just listening to what others say about them.
- Be nice to everyone.
- When friends gossip or say bad things, ask them to stop. Then change the subject.
- Apologize when you’ve made a mistake.
- Forgive others for things they’ve done.
- Recognize that everyone is different and that differences can be good.
- Speak kind words.
- Serve the people around you.
- Remember that everyone is a child of God.
Take the Self-Test
“My dear brothers and sisters, consider the following questions as a self-test:
“Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
“Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
“Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
“Do you secretly envy another?
“Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
“If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply [a] two-word sermon: stop it!”
– President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Youth Voices: Why We Need to “Stop It!”
Stacia D., 15, Utah: “It’s hard to be a teenager these days where people are constantly judging one another, especially when you’re caught in the middle. When friends judge other friends, it can be a little bit scary to stand up and speak your mind, especially when you feel like you’re the only one in your group of friends. I found the courage from this talk to tell my friends that I thought it was wrong to judge someone they were totally against. Even though I was a little nervous about it, they understood.”
Madilyn H., 15, Colorado: “What has helped me stop judging others is learning and gaining a testimony of my own worth, the worth of those around me, the Atonement, and how much we are truly loved. I want that love for other people because I want that love from other people. It’s helped me think before I label somebody.”
Kinnon P., 15, Arizona : “What a simple principle to be taught by a General Authority. I think we all need to take a step back and admire the merciful forgiveness of God when we repent. If God forgives us for our trespasses, then we really have no right but to do the same for others (see Matthew 6:15). We all need the saving ordinances that come from the Atonement. I bear testimony that we can grow closer to our Heavenly Father when we forgive others and remember to ‘stop it’ when it comes to judging others.”
Hunter W., 15, Utah: “I have a friend who is good at this. Every time when something happens and people say something bad, whether it’s something mean or something they just heard about, he says, ‘No, just stop talking about it. I don’t want to hear about this.’ He doesn’t like it when people tell stories that aren’t true. He’ll always just cover his ears, walk away, or tell people to stop. If they don’t stop, he will just walk away and wait until they’re done. I really admire him for that. Every time I hang around him, I try to do my best to not think about that kind of stuff.”
Bailee L., 15, Utah : “I think it’s almost harder to not forgive someone, because you’re constantly seeing them and you’re constantly remembering what they did to you. When you forgive them, you feel so much better. You can just forget about it and know it’s OK. Your relationship can grow, and you can really change as a person.”