I happened to be listening to two people I am acquainted with discussing experiences that they had during the past 24 hours with “Mormons”. In one case, a “Mormon” mom spoke rudely to others, acting as if those around her were there to be bossed around, to serve her every whim, and her superior attitude has soured the opinion of others regarding the beliefs I hold dear. The other experience involved a “Mormon” parent on the war path over a book in an English class. In both cases, those who should have known better treated those they came in contact with some kind of superiority and extended judgment rather than love in an effort to persuade others to change their behavior. I found myself apologizing for the behavior of others in my faith. My friends at first didn’t believe that I was “Mormon”… I was too Christian for that. What does that say of our efforts to “be an example of the believers?” What does that say about how I’m doing at declaring my faith? Does my life cause anyone to recognize Jesus?
Now I’m not saying that I would let my kid read any old book, or watch any movie, or listen to any music because an educator said it was the best way to learn. I do have a moral compass that I do my best to adhere to. But do I sacrifice the first two great commandments to make a point?
Time to step it up!
Pres. Thomas S. Monson said in his talk, "“An Example of the Believers”", Ensign, Nov. 1992, 97,
“Frequently we are too quick to criticize, too prone to judge, and too ready to abandon an opportunity to help, to lift, and, yes, even to save… few see beyond the outward appearance and recognize the true worth of a human soul.
This truth was portrayed so beautifully on the stage in My Fair Lady. Eliza Doolittle, the flower girl, spoke to one for whom she cared: “You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up—the dressing and the proper way of speaking—the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins because he always treats me as a flower girl and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you because you always treat me as a lady and always will.”
The Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to his beloved companion Timothy in which he provided inspired counsel equally as applicable to you and me today as it was to Timothy. Listen carefully to his words: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee,” “but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:14, 12.)”
Others are watching, perhaps unseen. What do they see in me?
Believers act and become what Heavenly Father wants them to become.
There is evidence all around us that the world desperately needs women who stand for something good and noble and righteous-even if that stand may not be popular. Sometimes what we need to stand for most is LOVE. The world needs women who in their daily acts and deeds exemplify a higher standard. We need to stand for LOVE! Women may not be the soldiers who lead our country into battle against evil forces, but every day they are at the front of the battle that Satan wages for souls. The most unpopular thing to stand for is LOVE!
I drive kids to school every morning. Every morning I hear them talk about others and the best way to describe the conversation is mean. All around I see people delight in the follies, disappointment, and suffering of others. Sure… sometimes I do see examples of unconditional love. But, in general there is an increasing atmosphere of trashing others… talk shows… delighting in someone not getting a date, or a solo, or a part in a play… pointing out the wrongs of others without recognizing God’s gift of agency. Sometimes it’s ok to agree to disagree. Always it is expected to LOVE… and LOVE does change everything.
The Savior's unlimited love was evidenced even more by His example than by His words. He served people in places that others would not go. He was criticized for being a friend to publicans and sinners. He sought out those who were suffering from the effects of physical and spiritual deficiencies. He went among the people, forgiving them, healing them, feeding them, and showing all manner of love to them. To love one another as He loves us is a vast, encompassing directive.
Additionally, we can follow Jesus' example of obedience.
Obedience is the first law of heaven. From His high and holy perspective, the Savior knows we can be exalted only by obeying eternal laws and accepting His atonement. Even at the tender age of twelve, He knew He "must be about [His] Father's business" (Luke 2:49). From the start of His ministry, when He submitted Himself to be baptized "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15), to the culminating act of the Atonement, when He cried from the depths of His agony, He perfectly exemplified the principle of obedience.
Again… what are the first two commandments? LOVE God first and LOVE other’s second. Seems to me that playing nice is a commandment.
I want to “be an example of the believers.”
I want to believe and have people know it. I want to choose the right, be obedient, keep the commandments and honoring my parents. I want to be humble. I want to radiate love… to radiate care, and mutual respect and fashion. I want my family and friends to believe that I am the hippest wife/mom/grandma (no one panic, this is not an announcement)/friend on earth.
We all need an “example of the believer” to have as a steady example of who we can to be like. Christ is the ultimate example of charity, pure love, humility. Who is it in your life that you emulate, that you desire to be more like? What in your life needs some fine tuning so you can be a better example of the believer?
As for me… I came from this conversation knowing that I need to step up my game. I need to be who I am, standing for right yet extending tolerance and love to ALL I associate with. I will BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE BELIEVERS!