As you have probably come to expect from this program, I often focus on topics that relate to diversity, harm, and changing our paradigms. That is simply because this is the place I am in my life, and even though I may focus on things that others may not, I feel it is just as valuable to share my testimony and experiences as I seek to learn, grow, and reach towards becoming what God would have me be.
However one thing that I struggle with is how to interact with those who engage in behaviors that I feel are harmful. Today I read a letter written to a child who had recently left the church. This letter included various rules that would be enforced with this child, and sadly within these rules I felt that there was little to no love being demonstrated. During these types of moments that can be so very painful I simply want people to be kind to each other, which can make it easy for me to judge.
However I think back on my own life and experiences and recognize that there are so many harmful things that I have done out of the best intentions of my heart. I remember sending harsh letters to family members who were not living in the way I felt they should, which I feel was not done in the way that the savior would have done it. I have been mean, judgmental, petty, and inconsiderate in my life, and as I ponder my need for repentance and change, I recognize that perhaps I need to have a little more compassion for those who may not be behaving in the ways that I feel would be the best. I think it is still important to be open and to perhaps help point harmful actions out in order to help us all be better, but this should always be done in loving empathetic ways. I believe we need to be patient with others by seeking to forgive, while we simultaneously seek to change through repentance.
Elder Henry B. Eyring has taught that “As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others. As you thank God for His kindness, you will think of others, by name, who need your kindness. Again, that experience will surprise you every day, and over time it will change you.”