This week I felt prompted to leave my linear study of Conference to focus on the sermon by Thomas S. Monson Be Strong and of a Good Courage. As I studied, I understood why this one was important for me exactly now. Because these reasons are so sacred and tender, I won't publish them in a public forum. Suffice it to say, God is watching over me personally. All quotes are from this sermon unless otherwise noted.
“While my breath is in me,...I will not remove mine integrity from me,” Job 27:3, 5.
"We live in a world where moral values have, in great measure, been tossed aside, where sin is flagrantly on display, and where temptations to stray from the strait and narrow path surround us. We are faced with persistent pressures and insidious influences tearing down what is decent and attempting to substitute the shallow philosophies and practices of a secular society...courage is needed...to say no when we should...to say yes when that is appropriate...to do the right thing because it is right. Inasmuch as the trend in society today is rapidly moving away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, we will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which we believe...We can help ourselves in our desire to do what is right if we put ourselves in places and participate in activities where our thoughts are influenced for good and where the Spirit of the Lord will be comfortable...He who stands steadfastly for that which is right must risk becoming at times disapproved and unpopular...It is impossible to stand upright when one plants his roots in the shifting sands of popular opinion and approval."
"Be the same person you are in the dark that you are in the light,” Jabari Parker.
While most Christians stand steadfast in the big things, sometimes not standing for truth and right are justified. Nobody needs to be obnoxious, however, followers of Christ are called to tactfully and charitably defend the kingdom of God. Animosity and contention will never, ever convert others toward the values and principles the Lord has given but instead encourages the opposite point of view. Clarity, logic, and articulateness allow clear discourse. With gentleness we need to watch, to pay attention for those times when we can be peacemakers, when we can be examples, when we can be in the right place, and when we can say the right thin.
"When anger is in control, you get unintended consequences," Jeanne DuPrau. To that I add, when thoughtfulness is in control, the consequences can be wonderful. No, we shouldn't acquiesce to sinfulness, but we should learn to engage in articulate, unperturbed dialog without getting angry. When people feel they are heard, they are more likely to listen and agree.
Recently, a close relative did just that. She saw a problem of moral duty that needed to be addressed on her side of the family. Instead of emotionally 'dealing with' the problem, she stepped back. To breed clarity and calm, she wrote down her observations and concerns and waited over night to allow emotions to settle. Addressing the problem with the proper person, my relative didn't allow herself to become ruffled even when the other person was overly emotional and blaming. Listening and then re-presenting the issues at hand, she was able to make a little headway. When the other person called back, the issue was worked out and resolved. Yes, it was emotionally draining to listen to the rantings of the other party in the proper frame of mind without returning tit for tat. In the end, the damage was less than it could have been if she had gone in with guns blazing. My relative was disapproved and unpopular for a short time, when she chose to do the right thing because it was right. This courage to do right, to preserve her integrity, empowered her in this situation.