Friday, February 17, 2012

Loving My Enemies

Mitt Romney's running for presidency has dramatically increased the LDS church's publicity, for good and for bad. Fact. Some see it as a violation of the constitutional "separation of church and state" while others see it as a necessary means to judge His Character. Fact. All that aside though, I seem to always find the negative articles or comments posted by those who know little or nothing about the church, or who are out to get it. Either way, the comments are usually rude, assuming, and uninformed. Now, I'm not here to correct false ideas, although I'm happy to talk to anyone who is curious, and I'm not here to call those people out and mock them for their sometimes shocking ignorance. What I'm here to say, is that even though you have no idea how far reaching your comments are, even though you've insulted to a huge degree, many things that I hold Sacred, and even though you may hate me and/or my church, I forgive you. Are you asking for my forgiveness? No. Do you want it? Probably not. But to me, it's important that you know. Because a month ago there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell that I would forgive you. 
I served a mission for this church. For 2 years, I put EVERYTHING on hold to go and serve my God, and my Fellow man. You may mock this all you want, but believe me when I tell you, there is not a more demanding yet rewarding experience out there, with the likely exception of marriage. However, after 2 years of devoted service, Teaching about Jesus Christ, and doing my best to follow Him myself, it made me a little upset when people who knew nothing of what I have experienced, treat, and talk about it with such disdain and lack of feeling. I understand that you don't agree with the teachings of this church. That's fine. More power to ya. I don't even mind if you voice your opinion. I'll defend your right to do so to my grave. But after I've given so much of me to the cause of virtue, and morality, and goodness, I found it hard to believe that someone who knows so little of the doctrines and beliefs that I have known since before I can remember, could ridicule them in such a feeling-less manner. Now, understand, I do not claim to be perfect. I'm nowhere near. Yes, I've wrongfully judged people before. Yes, I've completely missed the mark with whole groups of people- races and religions alike. I'm no better than anyone. But, having been the "victim" if you will, of some very severe and at best only partially true criticism, and knowing how it feels, I try to make sure that I am not the one offending something that others may hold sacred. 
You see, in reality, yes, it makes me angry when people insult things that I hold sacred. And it makes me angry when people post lies as facts. And I am constantly annoyed at the misrepresentation of my beliefs in the media, especially the news where reporters are paid to report ACCURATELY. And then I had this realization: I was doing EXACTLY what I had spent so long teaching people not to do. Holding a grudge, being angry, lashing out- all of it is completely against what I believe. So after some deep thinking and introspection, along with many prayers, I can honestly say, I hold no malice towards anybody. Whether you hate me or not. Whether you hate what i stand for, or not. Whether you couldn't care less, or not. I refuse to be someone who says one thing and does another. So however you'd like to label yourself- an enemy, a headache, a thorn in my side, a bystander, an acquaintance, a friend, or a family member- I love you. Because The Man- the GOD I claim to believe in, would have me love you. And so, even though it hasn't always been true, and even though I may yet fall short, I can in all honesty say, I love you.