It was a really busy week! It went by in the blink of an eye. We had all sorts of adventures, lessons, and crazy things happen to us. Where to begin...
I think the main thing I realized this week is how humility is the key to allowing the gospel take a real place in your heart. By that, what I mean is that a humble heart is what permits us to actually live our religion. I've been reading a lot lately on the life of Jesus Christ, and I've noticed a common trend. Although He is perfect, He was still capable of being passionate and aggressive in His teaching, because He was just and holy in doing so. The moments where this was most commonly manifested was when He would rebuke people for being hypocrites. Hypocrisy greatly saddens and frustrates Jesus Christ. He does not like when we profess to love Him with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him. Ask yourself how you might be susceptible to that. Can I give you a hint? It almost always comes with judgments that we make about others. ANY judgment we make about others is a form of hypocrisy. Why? Because we each have something that we could be judged for as well!
Our Heavenly Father made every human being different. Why wouldn't He want us all to just be clones? Because differences allow us to be tested. They test us to see if we're going to give into the temptation to judge others according to our differences. It's easy to look at others for their shortcomings and weaknesses. Its easy to look at others for the ways in which they are different from us. But think about how much happier we would be if we focused on each person's merits and strengths. We would spend a lot less time pointing the finger, and a lot more time trying to improve our own selves by learning from the good examples of others.
I read an interesting story where two sisters were together and one of them kept having the most trivial criticisms go through her mind. "Why doesn't she ever pay attention in class." "Why doesn't she ever help clean up after dinner." "Why does she wear her makeup like that." And then one day this sister had a dream. And in this dream, Jesus Christ came up to her and said, "I'm the only one who is perfect. In my eyes, you two don't look much different." This is a realization that we must all come to. Compared to Christ, we all look pretty shabby. He is the only one who is perfect and can therefore pass judgement. We have no right. Don't go looking for the faults of others when there are plenty of things we could be improving about our very own self.
I saw this a lot this week as we taught many inactives and amis. They each come from very different backgrounds from me. I don't know their entire life's story, what challenges they've faced, or what trials they struggle with. Sometimes it's easy for me to want to think things like, "Why don't you read your Book of Mormon? It's not that hard. You're trying to tell me you don't have 5 minutes in the entire week?" Or "I don't want to hear you're too tired to come to church. You don't think I'm tired too?" I have to quickly try to push these thoughts out of my mind and remember that I am working with a child of God who has different weakness and struggles than me. What may come easy and be logical to me, could be a mountain to climb for them. And what may be simple for them, could be a huge challenge to me. I think of the fact that we are all equal and on the same level in Christ's eyes. That allows my love for them to increase and understanding and compassion to fill my heart and mind, instead of criticism and judgment. And then I can have the spirit with me to respond to these issues and help them overcome these challenges in a Christ-like manner.
It's not always easy and I'm not perfect at it. But when I pray and really plead with God to have the ability to see His children through His eyes and love them as He does, gradually He enables me to have this gift. But it takes effort...Lots of prayer, lots of repenting, and lots of practice.
2 weeks till General Conference!! I hope you're all preparing.
Have a wonderful week!