Friday, January 18, 2008

Urge for Tolerance and Civility

We are taught to be tolerant and civil to all people - this of course does not mean to compromise our values as Christians. But it certainly means that we should focus on the good in others, treat them with respect and never treat someone like they are less than or below us if they don't believe in God or if they don't personally uphold our values. Jesus Christ said unto His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."- John 13:34

I have pondered on this scripture many times. The Savior of the world is commanding me to love others as He loves me... this is not a small thing. Because I have felt His love for me in so many ways in my life and it passes all my understanding, that's some BIG love. I love Him because He first loved me... And that's the kind of thing that changes the world for the better!!! (1 John 4:19 "We love Him, because He first loved us.")

The following is taken from a talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley. I revere him as a Prophet of God. However I don't share this with an expectation for you to revere him as a Prophet too. I simply share this because I think all true Christians would appreciate and agree with the counsel given here... because it is right in line with what the Savior taught.

"We must not become disagreeable as we talk of doctrinal differences. There is no place for acrimony....We can respect other religions, and must do so. We must recognize the great good they accomplish. We must teach our children to be tolerant and friendly toward those not of our faith. We can and do work with those of other religions in the defense of those values which have made our civilization great and our society distinctive....We can and do work with those of other religions in various undertakings in the everlasting fight against social evils which threaten the treasured values which are so important to all of us. These people are not of our faith, but they are our friends, neighbors, and co-workers in a variety of causes. We are pleased to lend our strength to their efforts.

But in all of this there is no doctrinal compromise. There need not be and must not be on our part. But there is a degree of fellowship as we labor together.

As we carry forward our distinctive mission, we work under a mandate given us by the risen Lord, who has spoken in this last and final dispensation. This is His unique and wonderful cause. We bear testimony and witness of Him. But we need not do so with arrogance or self-righteousness.

As Peter expressed it, we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” Why? That we might “shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

A holier-than-thou attitude is not becoming to us....Let us rise above all such conduct and teach our children to do likewise. Let us be true disciples of the Christ, observing the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us strengthen our own faith and that of our children while being gracious to those who are not of our faith. Love and respect will overcome every element of animosity. Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe." - President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Ensign, May 1998)

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