Sunday, October 2, 2011

Longsuffering ~ Bearing the Faults and Errors of Others...

Recently someone said some negative things to me about several people we both know. This person was concerned about how these people's actions have affected me... My response was one of explanations for the negative actions. This was not to make excuses or to say these people could not improve, but rather, I hoped to encourage an attitude of patience and understanding towards the people mentioned.

Unfortunately, the intentions of my heart were not conveyed, and my friend misunderstood saying, “You always have an excuse for everyone; but I believe there is a cure for everything!”

I was a bit taken back. Isn't it obvious by my belief in people and refusal to give up on them evidence that I too believe in "cures"/repentance and improvement? My acknowledgment of what people struggle with is not to give excuses for bad behavior or to say a person must always be that way; my acknowledgment is simply recognition that people are given challenges, which we should seek to understand... rather than criticizing.

As a follower of Christ, and one who seeks to bring Him honor by the way I live my life, I wish to make it clear that lack of criticism... and abundance of patience are NOT false evidence of excuses, nor are they evidence of ignorance.

They ARE real evidence of faith, understanding, and willingness to wait upon the Lord. They are evidence that even though I DO SEE and know that people have problems, I also see and know the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and of the ability of a willing heart to rise up, change, and be perfected in Christ.

Whether or not others choose to repent and change, I can still be healthy and happy as I respond with Christ-like forgiveness and hope (rather than mindlessly reacting); I can not make others change, and will not try to. But I can and do, choose to respond with forgiveness and love...

Life is as hard, or as easy as we let it be, depending upon whether we focus on our goals, or the obstacles that life or other people place in front of our goals; on what is going wrong in our lives, or what is going right; on how far we have to go, or how far we have gone; on our trials, or on God’s counsel and the opportunity to endure well; on what we have no influence over, or on what we can control

And life is easier when we honestly acknowledge the struggles that others have which do affect our lives – Not as excuses for wrong behaviors or choices – But as a means of mercy, understanding, patience, forgiveness, and healing on our own part…

I'm just striving to be more inclined to forgive than to judge… Therein lies great peace, and the ability to truly love. And I have found that people have a much easier time improving their lives when friends show confidence in them rather than lack of faith or criticism.

It is one of my lofty goals to view my family in friends (as well as myself) the same way I view my most cherished photographs… in the best lighting possible, so I can see God’s children a little more like the way God sees them and be an encouraging inspiration to them to realize their full potential. I am convinced that we must do this in order to fulfill the measure of our creation… to be happy, and find great joy in this journey called life. (Thank you Steve for sharing your fabulous quote about how we should view people! :D You have very positively impacted my life with your quote!)

PS. Yesterday and today I have been listening to 4 sessions of a semi annual General Conference. Today, between conferences, I wrote this post, and afterwards read this recent conference address given to women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on September 24th. As I read this article I came across two quotes which I thought would be perfect additions to this post:
"Speaking to the sisters, the Prophet Joseph said: 'Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbors’ virtues. … You must enlarge your souls toward others if you [would] do like Jesus. … As you increase in innocence and virtue, as you increase in goodness, let your hearts expand—let them be enlarged towards others—you must be longsuffering and bear with the faults and errors of mankind. How precious are the souls of men!'"

Here is another great quote from that talk:

“Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time.
It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.”13
 President Monson

Go here if you want to view this and other conference talks given at the October Semi Annual Conference as well as at the Women's Conference which took place on the 24th of September. THESE TALKS ARE AWESOME!!! :D The best parts of me, are made of these... :) This General Conference took place on October 1 and 2nd 2011. The talks are always so good that I decided not to run in a half marathon yesterday, just so I could sit and listen to these marvelous talks. I'm happy to say, it was worth it. :)

I hope you are blessed to EnJoy conference, too! :)

Hugs :)

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