Thursday, July 31, 2014

Have Mercy On One Another

"The power and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sinned, there must be allowance made for them.

"All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: it is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. My talk is intended for all this society; if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another...

"We are full of selfishness; the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, when we are feeding on the faults of others. We can only live by worshiping our God; all must do it for themselves; none can do it for another. How mild the Savior dealt with Peter, saying, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." At another time, He said to him, "Lovest thou me?" and having received Peter's reply, He said, "Feed my sheep." If the sisters loved the Lord, let them feed the sheep, and not destroy them. How oft have wise men and women sought to dictate [to...] by saying, "O, if I were [...], I would do this and that;" but if they were in [...]'s shoes they would find that men or women could not be compelled into the kingdom of God, but must be dealt with in long-suffering, and at last we shall save them. The way to keep all the Saints together, and keep the work rolling, is to wait with all long-suffering, till God shall bring such characters to justice. There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof."

~Joseph Smith in an address to the Relief Society, The History of the Church, Vol 5, pp 23-24

(I think you can put anyone's name in those ellipses.)



"Self-righteousness is a form of egotism that breeds intolerance and impatience. Lack of empathy is its major symptom. Since self-righteousness is an unhealthy inner pride, the cure for it is honest humility. Jesus, the most righteous of all, was the perfect example of humility. He said, 'I am meek and lowly in heart.' (Matt. 11:29.)"

~Richard Lloyd Anderson, "Parables of Mercy"



I believe this is something it is vital that I be aware of, whichever side of whatever religious or ecclesiastical issue I am on.  And I believe that we all tend to quickly recognize failure to do this on the part of those who disagree with us or who fail to do what we hope they will do, but that most of us, including me, have a harder time seeing it in ourselves or in those with whom we agree.

4 comments:

Hsquared2 said...

I think this goes far beyond religious disagreement as well and into disagreements on just about anything. It is much easier to vilify those you don't agree and much easier to overlook the flaws of those with whom you do agree with.

See for a prime example FDR's apocryphal comments on Nicaragua dictator Anastasio Somoza or DR's Rafael Trujillo.

Snowy Mornings said...

I think you are right. You could make a case for this human tendency playing out in a multitude of venues.

BrieAnn said...

"We can only live by worshiping our God; all must do it for themselves; none can do it for another. How mild the Savior dealt with Peter, saying, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." - I loved this.

I've been thinking a lot about definitions and various understandings of what I believe is the same thing. More specifically: I have many friends who live beautiful, peaceful lives as they seek guidance from "the universe." I enjoy their insights on how they love others and themselves, how they find peace, and how they render service. While listening to an experience one day, I knew that their source of light [the universe] was the same as mine - the one I call God, know as my father in heaven, and grow more like as I follow Jesus Christ. Regardless of the words used, what I've come to know is that there is one great source of light and truth and love and peace. And that source brings goodness into the world by knowing exactly how and when to speak to the hearts of those who are willing vessels.

I'm self righteous enough to believe my definition is the right one, but not too proud to think everyone should have the same picture in their heads because of the words they use to describe Him - I don't think God minds being referred to as "the universe" as long as the message is being understood - stregnthening one another.

Snowy Mornings said...

I think that choosing to embrace and consider "right" a definition that rings true to you does not have to be a manifestation of self-righteousness (though some people mix the two together).

I think it can also be a manifestation of a decision to maintain integrity and exercise agency and act, based upon personal experience.

I think that knowing that I am human and therefore not 100% right in my perceptions makes my decisions to act upon what I think is "right" an act of faith; faith in God who I perceive is the author of all truth, and whose grace is sufficient to cover the lack in what I perceive as I seek to understand truth.

And the knowledge that, in spite of my best efforts to understand truth, I lack the whole picture also gives me reason to be gentle with every other person's honest-hearted differing understanding.