Wednesday Words

—by Donna Mitchell

Sorry to be forever late. I have trouble posting on Wednesday because that is the day I have cub scouts. Anything other than cub scouts has to go to the end of the list. When I get home, I have forgotten what was on the list. What list? Where? You get the picture…

Our lesson Sunday was taken from Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, Chapter 21: The Power of Kindness.

From the Life of George Albert Smith: President Smith ‘taught that we should “meet our problems in the spirit of love and kindness toward all.”‘ We learned of an incident where workmen fixing the street near his home on a hot summer day stopped using bad language only after he brought them a pitcher of lemonade and invited them to enjoy it in the shade of his trees.

President Smith believed “that there is innate goodness in everyone.” On his deathbed, he told Elder Matthew Cowley, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who was visiting him in the hospital, “Young man, remember all the days of your life that you can find good in everyone if you will but look for it.” Elder Cowley stated that President Smith “did not look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, but he loved the sinner because he knew that God was love, and that it is God’s love that regenerates human souls and may, by that process, transform the sinner into a saint.”

Teachings of George Albert Smith: “The Spirit of the Lord is a spirit of kindness, not harshness and criticism.” … “As a people we are advised not to be critical, not to be unkind, not to speak harshly of those with whom we associate. We ought to be the greatest exemplars in all the world in that regard.” In our present day, there are members of the Church who “check their membership at the door” when they attend sports events, where they feel free to heap abuse on members of the opposing team. This is “contrary to the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Don’t do it.

“We should look for the virtues in others and offer sincere praise.” The lesson manual quotes President Smith praising Apostle Francis M. Lyman for his outstanding example of this behavior. He pleads with us to “be generous with one another” and “as patient with one another as we would like others to be with us. Let us see the virtues of our neighbors and our friends and speak of those virtues, not find fault and criticize.”

“Kindness has the power to lead people from their mistakes.” “Let us not complain… because they do not do what we want them to do. Rather let us love then into doing the things that our Heavenly Father would have them do. ..We cannot win their confidence or their love in any other way.”

“Love and kindness in our homes can lead our children to listen to our counsel.” “It is our privilege as well as our duty to take suffienct time to surround our children with safeguards and to so love them and earn their love that they will be glad to listen to our advice and counsel.” “Live in such a way, in love and kindness, that peace and prayer and thanksgiving will be in your homes together.” There is a long story in the manual about a sister President Smith knew whom he ran into on a train. She was traveling to be near her young son who was in the hospital in Oregon, suffering from pneumonia. He had left home at 16 without telling anyone where he was going; his family’s first clue was a telegram from the hospital. She stayed with him there until he recovered, cheering him with thoughts of good things he could do when he was well. He resolved to return home, change his life, honor his parents, and never again be ungrateful for their support.

Most of this lesson we did not cover, but instead got sidetracked with a discussion on charity (goods and services). In our present-day lives, we could all use more kindness (behavior and attitude which cost nothing), and it is good to be reminded of our obligation to practice the Golden Rule. Read the whole lesson if you haven’t already!

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