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Be kind to one another

Recently I attended a graveside memorial service for a family friend and fellow member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints named Mary.

When the time came for sharing special memories of Mary, a young mother related an experience that touched my heart. One Sunday, while she was struggling to keep her children quiet during the worship service, Mary said to her, “You are raising a beautiful family.”

Mary’s simple words of encouragement gave the young mother strength and allowed her to feel not only Mary’s love but the love of our Heavenly Father as well. In that moment, she knew that God was aware of her, and that He had sent an angel in human form to brighten her day and cheer her heart.

In these days of acrimonious accusation and divisive disputation, how we need such kind words.

Kind words of praise and encouragement, of grace and forgiveness, can break clouds of contention and allow in the warm sunshine of peace.

Undoubtedly we can each recall someone who, at a critical moment, gave us essential encouragement that helped us press forward when we were ready to give up. I recall a high school English teacher, Mr. Curt Austin, who rescued me at a particularly difficult crossroads and inspired me to persevere.

Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, taught by example how we can lift, inspire, and minister to others through our words.

To the woman taken in adultery, and to all of us who feel separated from God due to our sins and shortcomings, Jesus dispersed the accusing crowd and gave hope by saying:,”Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

To the man born blind, and to all of us who may worry that we have brought on ourselves our afflictions, Jesus removed the sting of self-accusation and taught that all have a part in glorifying God: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3).

To the woman who humbly sought Christ’s power to heal her blood disorder and to all of us who sometimes question whether our faith is sufficient, He said, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matthew 9:22).

To all of us, He teaches: “Strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings.”

Rather than tearing others down, we should strive to lift them up as Paul encouraged the Ephesians, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (4:32).

Like Mary, may we each be found following the example of our Savior by strengthening and lifting others in all we do and say.

DR. BRENT ROBERTS is the Elders Quorum President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.