Friday, October 4, 2013

The Kindness Principle

If browsing news articles on the internet has taught me anything, it's this: the devil knows how to work both sides of the fence.

Rare is the article with a comment section free from personal and venomous attacks against people who may have a different point of view.  If I had a nickel for every nasty word spewed at Mormons (and other Christian faiths) when it comes to the issue of homosexuality I'd be able to pay off the National Debt by now.  Even if I removed all other derogatory words from the equation and stuck solely with "bigot" I'd be flying with my own fleet of private jets by Tuesday.

But, Mormons and their fellow Christians aren't innocent either.  One quick glance at an article on gay marriage is enough to make you want to stuff all the believers in a soundproof room for the rest of eternity. (You know how the scripture goes:  "Love thy neighbor as thyself, unless thy neighbor is gay.  In that case tell him emphatically that God hates him and condemn him to burn in hell.")

It doesn't matter what the issue is -- religion, abortion, homosexuality, infertility, depression, physical fitness -- everyone has opinion.  But here's the thing:  Almost everyone is wrong.

I'm not talking about religions or doctrines or dogmas.  I'm talking about the way we treat each other.

We have no idea what people have been through in their lives.  We have no idea how difficult it is for the recovering alcoholic to go out to dinner with his clients and stay sober.  We have no idea how hard it is for the overweight person to say no to a cookie, or the anorexic person to say yes to a salad.  We have no idea how long the gay teenager wrestled with feelings of worthlessness and unworthiness before he came out of the closet.  We have no idea of the fear and desperation that were involved in deciding to have an abortion.  We have no idea of the wrenching emotional struggle a couple went through before they decided to try IVF.  We have no idea.

So why do we we continually think that we know the hearts and minds of our fellow human beings well enough that we can cloak ourselves in self-righteousness and condemn them for their actions?  And even worse, why do we insist that the God who created them -- the God who is their literal Father just as He is ours -- must not love them as much as He loves us?

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) said:

"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?
Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?"
True Christianity isn't words, it's actions.  It's following Christ.  It's doing what He would do and saying what He would say.  It's showing kindness to everyone you meet, whether you agree with their life choices or not, because our actions speak louder than our words.

And when it comes to showing who we truly are and what we truly believe, nothing speaks louder than kindness.


Chatana Krebs said...

Love this!! You put it perfectly!! Also incorporates a line from my favorite passage if scripture in mosiah 4

Laurelee said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

cant tell you how much I agree. Internet comment sections appear to bring out the worst in folks.