Friday, December 12, 2014

Loving Others and Living With Differences

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

True to Elder Oaks' style, this talk was divided into six sections.  I like his style.  I think it makes his teachings easier to digest and apply.

I.
LOVE OTHERS AS CHRIST DID (and does)

In his talk, Elder Oaks shares many examples of Christ's example and commandment to love:  
"Love one another" (John 15:12). . . . . .
"Love thy neighbor" (Matthew 22:39). . . . . . .
"Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44). . . . . . . 

If we know what we are suppose to do then "Why is it so difficult to have Christlike love for one another?"

My answer to this question is:  Because people are stupid, mean, and unlovable.  Elder Oaks answer is much more refined than mine.  He said,
"It is difficult because we must live among those who do not share our beliefs and values and covenant obligations."

"We are to live in the world but not be of the world." and it is our duty, as taught by Jesus in a parable, to "raise the whole mass (world) by its (our) influence."
"His followers cannot do that if they associate only with those who share their beliefs and practices."

II.
ELIMINATE TENDENCIES TO BE AND FEELINGS OF CONTENTION

There are times when people get on my nerves so bad I'd like to give them a high-five . . . to the face with a chair.  Or times when I know I'm right and the other person is wrong, and I not so nicely let them know this.  Yep-  this is what Elder Oaks is talking about here- Causing contention.

Elder Oaks reminds us of Jesus' teaching:
"There shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been. . .For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. . ." (3 Nephi 11:28-29)

Do not contend with anger.  Remember:
"wise men turn away wrath" (Proverbs 29:8)
"follow after the things that make for peace" (Romans 14:19)
"[speak] the truth in (with) love" (Ephesians 4:15)

After reading this talk, this is something I'm striving to do.  I'm trying to do like the popular movie Frozen says, "LET IT GO!"  Stop getting annoyed and wanting to pick a fight, and just let it go!  

III.
SHOW LOVING-KINDNESS WHILE STILL BEING FIRM IN YOUR BELIEFS

"We must not compromise or dilute our commitment to the truths we understand.  We must not surrender our positions or our values."

"Loving-kindness is required, but a follower of Christ. . . will be firm in the truth."

Don't drop your values and side with others just because you're trying to be nice.  

IV.
TEACH THE TRUTH AND BE CIVIL

It is okay to share our beliefs with others, but we need to be civil about it.

"Followers of Christ should be examples of civility.  We should love all people, be good listeners, and show concern for their sincere beliefs.  Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable.  Our stands and communications on controversial topics should not be contentious."

This is the quote that really stood out to me.  I thought of how many times I may not be as Christ-like and kind as I should be.  Even though I may not agree with someone, I should always show kindness and Christ-like love - NO MATTER WHAT!

"When our positions do not prevail, we should accept unfavorable results graciously and practice civility with our adversaries.  In any event, we should be persons of goodwill toward all. . . ."

V.
"KINDNESS IS POWERFUL"

"The most important setting to forgo contention and practice respect for differences is in our homes and family relationships."

". . .Keep doing all the right things and. . .be patient and kind. . . "

"Kindness is powerful, especially in a family setting."

In this section, Elder Oaks share a story about a woman who's non-member husband had been accompanying her to church for 12 years but had never joined.  She asked for counsel from Elder Oaks who told her to "keep doing all the right things and to be patient and kind with her husband."  About a month later, the woman wrote to Elder Oaks saying she thought she had been pretty patient during those 12 years but she probably wasn't being very kind about it.  She practiced real hard for over a month and her husband was baptized.

There is power in being kind.

Just like this woman, I have friends and family members that I am frustrated with.  Elder Oaks counsel to be patient and kind applies to me too.  I can quit being annoyed, quit complaining, quit nagging, and instead be kind.  Showing forth an increase of love (D&C 121:43) by doing something incredibly nice and unexpected for them.  Man, I have a lot to work on.

VI.
PRESS FORWARD HAVING "A LOVE OF GOD AND OF ALL MEN"

". . .As followers of Christ we should live peacefully with others who do not share our values or accept the teachings upon which they are based."


This talk really opened my eyes and gave me some things to work on and change in my life.  What did you get out of this talk?