Friday, November 18, 2011

Love One Another, Except When You're Uncomfortable

When Jesus said, "Love One Another" I am pretty sure there were no qualifiers there.

Love One Another... except when you're uncomfortable.
Love One Another... except when you're inconvenienced.
Love One Another... except those who don't act the way you want them to.
Love One Another... unless they drink.
Love One Another... unless they're gay.

He said Love One Another as I have loved you. To each his own, but I truly believe that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us as just that: a father; A father who loves unconditionally; A father who wants us to succeed and grow. We grow through our mistakes. We grow through making our weaknesses stronger. I believe most all of us have a weakness when it comes to loving one another.

I could go on and on with the poor examples of how we fail to love one another. I say "we" with full confidence that I am not above anyone in failing to love all. It's hard, it truly is. It seems like such a simple commandment, but I see the selfishness every day. My heart aches when I see this apathy and disdain. Dear friends, if you fear that you will lose your beliefs because you love someone who is different than you, you are sadly mistaken or simply do not have a sure testimony of what you profess you believe. I promise that if you love your fellow man- no matter his perceived faults- that you will have an increased ability to love more.

Have you ever in your life felt alone, different, sad, depressed, outcast, broken, or simply unloved? We all go through trials in our lives. We all believe and interpret life differently. Go back to that time you have felt one of these emotions and ask yourself if an arm around your shoulder would have done you good. And maybe you actually did have a shoulder out there to lean on at that time. There are people out there right now who are struggling with feelings of despair and hopelessness and I ask you, does it matter what they're struggling with?

When Jesus ministered here on this earth, he didn't help the strong. He didn't help only those who had faith. But rather He inspired faith by loving all. When others shunned the lepers and called them unclean He walked among them and healed them. When the crowd was ready to condemn an adulteress He protected her from their hate which came in the form of stones.

You've heard the phrase, "Love the sinner, not the sin." If you think about it, we have no business judging what we believe to be someone's sins. Sinning is personal, it is between you and God. It is a step in the Atonement and a consequence of receiving a mortal body. When we shut out someone because we believe what they are doing to be wrong, we are forcing on them a judgment that their actions have already condemned them.

In a response to a newspaper editor when asked what the Mormon faith believes Joseph Smith replied:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; ... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
All men. Not just the ones we approve of:  all.

The story of the prodigal son is a beautiful one, but the message we often miss is that of the son who stayed and helped his father. The elder son who stayed was jaded by the time his brother came back and instead of welcoming him with open arms, he complained, judged, and hardened his heart against him. He became prideful and was unwilling to love his brother who had returned. I will go so far as to say that the elder son also complained and said horrible things about his brother while he was gone. Can you imagine if that younger brother had heard the things he said about him? What chances then do you think the lost one would return if such utterances fell upon his ears? Listen to the message here, I am not saying that the younger brother wasn't in the wrong, but the question here is: Was the elder brother doing any good by saying horrible things about the one he thought was doing wrong?

I myself am a devout Mormon and am simply trying to do my best at it. To those who have said things that are ignorant, without charity, or simply lacking tact, I implore you to consider that we all have something we struggle with, whether that be loneliness, homosexuality, pornography, anorexia, alcoholism or any number of daily struggles. My point is that we can point fingers and ridicule and make that someone who is struggling feel even more hopeless, or we can follow the seemingly simple commandment to love one another and therefore uplift our fellow man and let him know that he doesn't have to do it alone. I challenge everyone to find someone who needs a friend, a kind word, or simply a smile and to fill that need for them. I promise you will be a better person for it and can truly call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ.


Kaelie Stout said...

Thanks for the insite Jacob. My concern is this: There are individuals who express their opinions freely and with our blessed rights they are allowed to do so. So often they are simply stating a thought or a viewpoint, yet they get bashed on as "haters" and "ignorants" when in truth, we don't know their background. We have no idea where they are coming from and why they are writing what they write. I believe they write simply because they feel they have to. Because they have emotions surging inside of them. Because they feel that they need to stand up for what they believe is right. We should not discourage this behavior. What should be avoided is the behavior of keeping one another from feeling free to express beliefs and opinions. As you roughly said, we're all just trying to do our best. Love everyone, even the people you think are haters, because chances are, they don't hate at all, they just don't know how to express their lack of understanding or their firm beliefs with the tact people believe that they should.

Celestial Soldier said...

My post is not solely related to the opinion articles in the Daily Universe. Like I said, it has been a long time on my mind. It has stemmed from how I see people treat others and the way they are talked about. It may have a "gay" theme, but it's a universal concept.

Kimberly said...

Wonderfully said, Jacob. It frustrates me how narrow minded people can be. They see someone's 'sin' and only see that, not the person.

I just hope we can learn and grow past it.