Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the virtue of kindness

I love this talk! I found it years ago. I was having a trial because of someone who had been less than kind to me over an extended period of time. This talk provided alot of peace and comfort to me. I keep it in a file of favorites to study every once in awhile. I especially love the story at the end from the life of Elder Talmadge. He was the author of "Jesus the Christ". After reading this, it is no wonder he had such an understanding of the Savior's nature. He exemplified it in his own life. If you don't have time for scripture study today, read this post and then reflect on it while you spend time with the kids, cook, grocery shop, clean the house and it will edify you. I promise.


I often wonder why some feel they must be critical of others. It gets in their blood, I suppose, and it becomes so natural they often don’t even think about it. They seem to criticize everyone—the way Sister Jones leads the music, the way Brother Smith teaches a lesson or plants his garden.

Even when we think we are doing no harm by our critical remarks, consequences often follow. I am reminded of a boy who handed a donation envelope to his bishop and told him it was for him. The bishop, using this as a teaching moment, explained to the boy that he should mark on the donation slip whether it was for tithing, fast offerings, or for something else. The boy insisted the money was for the bishop himself. When the bishop asked why, the boy replied, “Because my father says you’re one of the poorest bishops we’ve ever had.”

The Church is not a place where perfect people gather to say perfect things, or have perfect thoughts, or have perfect feelings. The Church is a place where imperfect people gather to provide encouragement, support, and service to each other as we press on in our journey to return to our Heavenly Father.

Each one of us will travel a different road during this life. Each progresses at a different rate. Temptations that trouble your brother may not challenge you at all. Strengths that you possess may seem impossible to another.

Never look down on those who are less perfect than you. Don’t be upset because someone can’t sew as well as you, can’t throw as well as you, can’t row or hoe as well as you.

One way you can measure your value in the kingdom of God is to ask, “How well am I doing in helping others reach their potential? Do I support others in the Church, or do I criticize them?”


If you are criticizing others, you are weakening the Church. If you are building others, you are building the kingdom of God. As Heavenly Father is kind, we also should be kind to others.

Elder James E. Talmage, a man who is remembered for his doctrinal teachings, showed great kindness to a neighbor family in distress. They were complete strangers to him. Before he was an Apostle, as a young father, he became aware of great suffering at a neighbor’s home whose large family was stricken with the dreaded diphtheria. He did not care that they were not members of the Church; his kindness and charity moved him to act. The Relief Society was desperately trying to find people to help, but no one would because of the contagious nature of the disease.

When he arrived, James found one toddler already dead and two others who were in agony from the disease. He immediately went to work, cleaning the untidy house, preparing the young body for burial, cleaning and providing for the other sick children, spending the entire day doing so. He came back the next morning to find that one more of the children had died during the night. A third child was still suffering terribly. He wrote in his journal: “She clung to my neck, ofttimes coughing [germs] on my face and clothing, … yet I could not put her from me. During the half hour immediately preceding her death, I walked the floor with the little creature in my arms. She died in agony at 10 a.m.” The three children had all departed within the space of 24 hours. He then assisted the family with the burial arrangements and spoke at their graveside services. This he did all for a family of strangers. What a great example of Christlike kindness!

When we are filled with kindness, we are not judgmental. The Savior taught, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” He also taught that “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

“But,” you ask, “what if people are rude?”

Love them.

“If they are obnoxious?”

Love them.

“But what if they offend? Surely I must do something then?”

Love them.

“Wayward?”

The answer is the same.
Be kind. Love them.

Why? In the scriptures Jude taught, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.”

Who can tell what far-reaching impact we can have if we are only kind?

May we be models of kindness. May we ever live up to the words of the Savior: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

from "The Virtue of Kindness" May 2005 Ensign

by Joseph B. Wirthlin

7 "my two cents...":

Amanda said...

Thanks:) I needed this. I haven't had time for any kind of "study" lately.

I find that with lack of sleep and too much time a home with 2 little ones I feel the urge to be rude. You must have posted this for me:)

shahna said...

Amanda: I can always count on your for a comment. You are the sweetest girl and couldn't be rude if you tried. I am going to miss you not being in the same ward and all but I am SO grateful we have the blogging world to keep us close! I love ya!

Karen said...

GREAT article. I'm so glad I stopped by to read it today. I've been struggling with a little issue and how to handle it. The answer is simple - love them. I'm going to get right on it.

Thanks! Have a happy day.

My name is Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ChellaJ [Rachelle] said...

Great talk. Always good to remember to love those even if they hurt us, think differently then us, etc. Thanks for sharing. Something I could always be better at.

The A Team said...

thanks for that. i've had some issues with that lately. thank you for the much needed reminder to keep loving them no matter what.

shahna said...

Rachelle: I love your new pic!

Andrea: True that. SOOOO good to ALWAYS give others the benefit of the doubt and then kill 'em with kindness.