Religious beliefs are being attacked on all sides. Everywhere in media we see many issues being discussed and debated. But what concerns me most are the subtle (or not so subtle) attacks within the Lord's church. "I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first..." (Alma 60"23). This statement should place the right amount and kind of fear in the hearts of His people (His people being those who choose to be a disciple of Christ). Though most of what I say here will be specifically for Latter-Day Saints, we can look at this in all faiths, bringing all religions together to fight the battle against God. I have read too many posts, seen too many reports, and had too many conversations with others about our own people not being "perfect enough." In many circles we are starting to distinguish and shout out about our differences rather than strengthening one another in Christ.
One of my very favorite talks from this last General Conference was about what it means to be a Latter-Day Saint. In that fabulous discourse there is a story about a mother and her daughter attending church in South Africa and feeling ostracized by the white members there. After hearing a heartfelt complaint about this from her daughter, the mother responded, "Oh, Thoba, the Church is like a big hospital, and we are all sick in our own way. We come to church to be helped."
Judgment goes both ways! The "righteous" judging the "sinners" for their sins, and the "sinners" judging the "righteous" for not being righteous enough. We seem to be looking for faults, weaknesses, and mistakes rather than seeing what we can learn from one another, where we can serve one another.
Let's shed the lables: misfit vs. Molly, single vs. married, black vs. white, righteous vs. wicked, etc. As President Uchtdorf boldy declared, we need to "Stop it!" Let's follow his counsel and instead of differentiating ourselves, let's choose to collectively call ourselves DISCIPLES OF CHRIST. That label comes in as many shapes and sizes as their are people in the world!
TOGETHER we must build His Kingdom.
TOGETHER we must fight this battle.
TOGETHER we must unite if we are going to win this war.
Elder Renlund continues:
"We must not only be tolerant while others work on their individual illnesses; we must also be kind, patient, supportive and understanding. As God encourages us to keep on trying, He expects us to also allow others the space to do the same, at their won pace. The Atonement will come into our lives in even greater measure. We will then recognize that regardless of perceived differences, all of us are in need of the same infinite Atonement (emphasis added)."
The Lord doesn't see me much different than my neighbor. We are all His children on a mortal journey, hopefully leading back to Him. There is one, however, who desires to divide rather than unify; one who wants us to focus on our weaknesses and those of others because "he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself (2 Nephi 2:27)."
As Latter-Day Saints, CHRIST must be our standard - - personally and collectively. Our acceptance of His Atonement and His doctrine will serve to unify rather than divide.
At an early age I made a covenant to take upon me the name of Christ. In making this covenant I chose to be numbered among His fold and promised to love and serve those with whom I associate, those who have chosen to do the same thing. Let us all be a little kinder, wiser, and more humble as we strive to not only understand those who are different, but also those who are "the same." Let us truly be Disciples of Christ; disciples who are not perfect but simply trying to be their very best for Him every day.
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"Choose you this day whom ye will serve,
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."