Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spiritually Fed

I know it has been a couple weeks since I posted. I have been super busy with things and working late and long hours in order to get some things caught up. I won't lie, it has been a rough couple of weeks. I have been really stressed and having trouble sleeping again. Looking back, I am extremely grateful for the spritual preparation I got conference weekend to be able to handle everything. It started with the Thursday before conference, I had Primary Leadership Training with the General Primary Presidency. It was really good and helped to remind me of the importance of teaching the children. It sort of rejuvenates you to keep going with your calling despite some of the stress that comes. I am going on my third year now as the Primary President and I sure love all those adorable munchkins even though there are times it is hard. I had made it a goal of mine that week, that I was going to go to the Temple. Things kept getting in the way for me, preventing me from going, but by the time Friday came. I told myself I was going no matter what. I went visiting teaching right after work, ran home, took care of Peaches, and then made it to the Temple. Life just felt so much calmer afterwards. Conference was the next two days after that and I really enjoyed every session. There was one talk, however, that I felt like was meant for me. In the Sunday morning session, President Uchtdorf spoke about mercy. I have been struggling a little bit for some time on the priniciple of mercy versus justice. It is hard to explain it all, but sometimes you feel like you are justified, if you will, for holding a grudge or thinking less of someone. Sure it's not okay for everyone, but if you are right, then there is no way it could be wrong. WRONG. President Uchtdorf had no idea, but he called me to repentance in so many ways. I know it is important to forgive and I do feel like I have forgiven quite a bit, but I hadn't done it a 100%. There has been a small portion of me still holding onto some anger and resentment. His words helped me to realize that I was in the wrong and that I need to repent and do better. I need to forgive completely and let go of what I felt were my "justified" feelings. I am so grateful for those words and for being open enough to the spirit to realize that they were intended for me. I no it won't be easy for me to forgive, but like he said it is easy to forgive those we love and so much harder to forgive those who hate us. With Christ's help, it is possible though. What kind of a leader or example am I to the children I teach in Primary every week if I don't do what I am instructed to do. I need to be better and live better. Here are some of the favorite parts of his talk that I really enjoye and I thought it worth sharing. I am grateful for sprititual feeding I received that will help me through the hard things and the stress that I have been facing lately. I am grateful for conference time. I love it and I love the leaders of the church for their inspired words to me. 

The Merciful Obtain Mercy by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

"I imagine that every person on earth has been affected in some way by the destructive spirit of contention, resentment, and revenge. Perhaps there are even times when we recognize this spirit in ourselves. When we feel hurt, angry, or envious, it is quite easy to judge other people, often assigning dark motives to their actions in order to justify our own feelings of resentment."

"Forgiveness for our sins comes with conditions. We must repent, and we must be willing to forgive others. Jesus taught: “Forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not … [stands] condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin”and “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
Of course, these words seem perfectly reasonable—when applied to someone else. We can so clearly and easily see the harmful results that come when others judge and hold grudges. And we certainly don’t like it when people judge us.

But when it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and only appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Is this difficult to do?
Yes, of course.
Forgiving ourselves and others is not easy. In fact, for most of us it requires a major change in our attitude and way of thinking—even a change of heart. But there is good news. This “mighty change”of heart is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ is designed to bring into our lives.
How is it done? Through the love of God.

As always, Christ is our exemplar. In His teachings as in His life, He showed us the way. He forgave the wicked, the vulgar, and those who sought to hurt and to do Him harm.

Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can do that. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. His words echo through the centuries and are meant for us today. They are meant for all who desire to be His disciples. They are meant for you and me: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving [each other], even as God for Christ’s sake [forgave us].”

as a self-test:
Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
Do you secretly envy another?
Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to apply the two-word sermon from earlier: stop it!
In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”
Brothers and sisters, let us put down our stones.
Let us be kind.
Let us forgive.
Let us talk peacefully with each other.
Let the love of God fill our hearts.
“Let us do good unto all men.”

Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.

Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.
Lay your burden at the Savior’s feet. Let go of judgment. Allow Christ’s Atonement to change and heal your heart. Love one another. Forgive one another.
The merciful will obtain mercy

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