When I was a kid, my life consisted of me and three younger brothers torturing each other around the clock. Thats just what kids do. We would drive each other up the wall some days. Sometimes it was rather funny, other times i wanted nothing to do with it. When i would go complain to my mom about the things my brothers were doing that i didn't agree with she would literally say
"If you don't want to be apart of it, then go away from them and ignore it."
And frankly it worked like a charm every time. Now, love my brothers, but when they were doing things that irked me, i would simply walk away and do my own thing and they would do theirs and we would live in peace.
Throughout my teenage years i felt like i had to repeat this piece of divine motherhood wisdom when it came to the people i would associate myself with. Whether it was my group of friends, drama, people making decisions i disagreed with around me at school, getting into trouble, dating, whatever. That same phrase rang true in my mind.
"If you don't want to be apart of it, then go away from them and ignore it."
And AGAIN it worked like a charm. I never really had any big throwdowns throughout middle school and highschool with other people. Because i would simply respect them as a person but avoid getting caught up in their life decisions that i didn't think were appropriate or cool. I would just stay away. And i would do my thing, and they would do theirs.
I bring this up (and maybe this is an analytical longshot as far as relevance goes but who cares) because over the past eighteen months while serving my mission in Washington DC as well as upon returning home i feel like i've had SO MUCH gossip, hatred, disagreeance of opinions, false accusation, and anti information about the church in which i attend which is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, thrown at me.
Now this is probably to be expected while going around talking to everybody as a missionary for the church, but it is a bit unsettling how much i still see and hear the open discussion of dissatisfaction and negativity towards the church still floating around in my life. Whether it be a personal confrontation or the media, it strikes me as oppositional with the teachings of Christ to throwdown or mock or even spread false accusations and information about a christian organization that is simply trying to do good.
And furthermore, to accuse a group of people as a whole when in fact, i am a firm believer you cant take an organization of millions of different people from a wide variety and walk of life, and stereotype them into one category of being ______________ (insert your opinion in the blank).
Before leaving for eighteen months to serve a full time mission for the 'LDS' church, i felt like i had a good idea of what i believed and what this church taught, or was about. During these eighteen months i learned more than i ever would have in a lifetime. I built a foundation of the doctrines and beliefs that i hold true. I spent eighteen months teaching people about the basic and simple doctrines of the church which is the teachings of our savior Jesus Christ. The whole goal we have in this life is to literally
follow our savior
and become like our savior
the one perfect being to ever walk this earth.
I don't understand why this gets so political over the media, or among different sects or denominations of Christianity, or religion, or theology. I don't understand why people get so caught up in the little things, that aren't even doctrine or of any relative importance. If the goal of the church or the goal of each individual person is to strive to follow their savior, why must there be any intrusion of society in mocking or puting down faith and beliefs?
To each his own, however. Each individual person is different and follows their beliefs differently and you may or may not find hypothetical reasons to condemn another for not accurately following the teachings of Christ as you believe them, or maybe even as they profess to believe them. but then again didnt Christ himself ask us to love, to forgive, to come together as one in 'the stature of the fulness of Christ?' (eph 4:13)
I think my ultimate opinion derived from this chain of thinking is i know im a very imperfect being, but im earnestly striving to do good and to follow my savior and be a more Christlike person, and i do this by following my religion and my faith. And its sad to me that the one thing in my life that i feel is good, pure and respectable, is trashed my so many people.
More than any time in my life, over the past two years people have degraded, torn apart and mocked me for something that is VERY important to me, and close to my heart. Over the past two years ive felt a little bit more as Peter probably felt when he said in the New Testement,
It makes me wonder why there is so much hate, judgement, false accusation or anti material via the media or in the general public, when humanity could spend their time on such a better cause, like unifying our christian faiths in which we have in common. Or even in following my wise mothers significant council of
"If you dont want to be apart of it, then go away from them and ignore it."
you do your thing
they do theirs
After living in one of the most diverse cities in the world, i've learned to love and become fond of many different cultures and religious practices. I have many many friends of other faiths and traditions who i love dearly and i've experienced first hand how coming together and unifying our faiths, even when we dont live the exact same lifestyle or follow the exact same doctrine, but when we come together in the faith of god and of Jesus Christ, can united us in peace, love, lasting friendship and harmony.
when we learn to speak words of kindness empathy and love of all who surround us even those who don't have our same opinions or belief, we come together in the faith. In romans 3 it talks about how 'Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips.' Or in other words our speech reveals who we are inside. What you say, what you spread, what you give off, is who you are becoming.
I'm continually striving to love.
to love those who are similar to me
to love those who are different than me
Because in the end isnt that what Christ would do?
frankly i dont expect respect from the entire world about what i believe
or how i live my life
and im not asking for that to change
or expecting that to change
Why would it? How could it?
Didnt Christ suffer similar experiences his entire life through?
Of course there will always be opposition.
But i do want humanity to know where i stand as a follower and advocate of my savior Jesus Christ. I do want those that i love to know i believe. I want those that i taught and befriended in Virginia to know i always will believe, and always will stand true to what i know. even though im not perfect and never will be.I will always stand as an advocate of my savior. I will never be able to deny the blessings and miracles i've witnessed in my life that were only made possible by a loving god, and his son.
I am a firm believer of this:
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. phillipians 4:8
I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me the most happiness peace and satisfaction that i could ever gain in this life. i know that even when people disagree with my beliefs, i can still love them and love god. i dont have to turn my back on anyone. them, my faith. i can continue on in life with a heart of forgiveness and love towards all man, and that's possible because of Christ, our savior.