How damaging is a habit that permits fault-finding, character assassination, and the sharing of malicious rumors! Gossip and caustic comments often create chains of contention. These chains may appear to be very small, but what misery and woe they can cause!
Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "Shake Off the Chains with Which Ye Are Bound", General Conference, October 1986
I've been thinking for some time about this in my life. And I've given daily thoughts about "perspective" before. But, it is extremely easy for me to assume that my view of things, what I perceive, somehow must align closely with the truth and, therefore, it must be the right way, or Christ's way of viewing things so others need to see things that way too or they're wrong.
But, is it really Christ's view and are others wrong?
There may be aspects of the truth in what I see just because that is how I interpret the gospel (again, my perception), or I have a partial view of the truly right way. But it is, by far, incomplete. Same thing with the view others see. It is incomplete. Nobody has a complete view, except One. That is why we are taught not to judge or gossip about what others are dealing with or doing. Because we don't have the complete picture.
When I say to a 3rd party or to the next guy that what so-and-so is doing is wrong, even if that's only my perception or assumption, then that causes that next guy I'm talking to, to form an opinion of so-and-so that is incomplete or false altogether. And that, right there, creates chains of contention not only between me and so-and-so, but also between the next guy and so-and-so too. Then that puts an unfair burden on so-and-so. All because I don't know the complete truth.
And I am completely guilty of doing this and I definitely regret it and I feel remorse for doing so, even if I didn't mean to. I am trying to stop doing this but also be aware of when I do this so I can correct it hopefully. It's an ongoing struggle.
One of the adversary’s tactics that I deal with, and hopefully try to overcome, is he gets me to "spend" that which I do not have. And I'm not just talking about money. I spend information even when I don't have all the information to spend. Even if I think I have it all, I don't. It just is not possible in this mortal world to have 100% of the information. I then become chained with an informational debt, if you will, that steals away my free agency, just like financial debt does.