Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Doctrine and Covenants 20:54

"And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, not evil speaking;"
Doctrine and Covenants 20:54

I love the line "neither hardness with each other." And I wonder how we can be a little softer to people. Some hints are here in this verse. We can avoid lying, saying mean things about people, and saying evil things. All of these hints can help us. Lying destroys trust, and we need to have a foundation of trust in order to interact in a kind way with people. If they think that we might lie to them, then they will doublethink everything we say, and keep up their walls to avoid being embarrassed or cheated. Backbiting hurts relationships as well. Even if we've followed the first hint and the mean things are true, saying them can wound people, and if we say them to others then that can erode trust and cause paranoia or resentment on a greater scale. Addressing someone's flaws can be done positively and privately, and often addressing our own flaws would be more beneficial to the relationship. :) Finally, evil speaking, whether it is criticizing prophets or church leaders, or gospel principles, or talking about sins that we are okay with, or that tempt us, can harm ourselves and our relationships as well. Some kinds of talking about can lead to accepting and/or doing, and criticizing principles of the gospel or the prophets of God gets us pointed in the wrong direction. God isn't too old to know what we need, and his gospel isn't meant to hold us back or limit us. He's trying to offer us the freedom that comes from greater knowledge and expanded choices, and wants us to become more whole, happy people. If we keep other people focused on a certain tempting aspect of sin, even if we aren't engaging in it, that's where their minds will stay, and it will be harder for them to take a step back and see the larger perspective. It will be harder for them to understand why it is wrong, or how avoiding that sin can help them in their lives. ... And it will be harder for them to trust us as supportive friends that they can turn to for good advice. Today, let's work on being softer with people... helping them to feel encouraged and happy and to see the positive and the reasons for hope.

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