If you know me, you know I love all things Elder Holland. So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that this morning I was re-listening to a Holland talk from General Conference. I’ll be giving the spiritual thought on Sunday as well as tomorrow night at my presidency meeting so I was trying to think of a good quote to share. Then I remembered a line from “Laborers in the Vineyard”, “be kind and be grateful that God is kind.”
So I listened to the talk to see if there was a longer quote to share but also just to refresh my memory because sometimes I remember quotes ALMOST right and reread to find I missed a word or two or the context. I thought this would be a good quote to share for a spiritual thought because Thursday night for our activity we are doing something about bullying. An activity to show how much we have in common and the different things and experiences people have. We’re basically just going through a link I’ll post later.
Anyway. Listening to the talk reminded me of a time in my life when I was mad because someone else was getting blessings when I believed they should have been feeling the wrath of God. I learned a lot during this time about perceived hurts, forgiveness, and being kind.
I think at the time I was so hurt that I didn’t think about how the Atonement applies to other people. I was very selfish, and I know this because I felt that if God loved me he should avenge me – without thinking and acknowledging that we are all God’s children. If God should punish this other person for what they had done to me, what made me think I deserved mercy for things I had done to other people? This is all in retrospect of course-in real time it took me months to get over the hurt and pain and to live my life without it being tainted by a desire to rip this other person’s eyes out.
The Lord IS kind. There are many things I don’t deserve forgiveness for, yet he forgives me if I ask. He even forgives me for the months I wasted hating another person, being jealous that they seemed to be getting all they wanted while I was left hurting and alone. So when Elder Holland says, “be kind” I feel like it’s more than just “smile at strangers”, but rather it’s be forgiving, be merciful, be understanding, be selfless. Learn to love as the Savior does. That’s a big order for a mortal person but I feel secure that the Lord will see you trying and he will bless you for your efforts.
If you are struggling to forgive someone for something they’ve done to you, perceived or real, I suggest you read Eder Holland’s talk. Carrying around grudges is exhausting and it does more damage to you than anyone else-I don’t say this because others have, I say this from experience. I know the weight of the burden and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the miracle of feeling that burden finally lifted. Choose kindness, choose love and you will have more of it in your life.
I’ll leave you with two paragraphs from that talk that made a big difference in my life.
“I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord.”