Are you enjoying these posts as much as I am? I hope so. I also hope that I have been able to stay true to the spirit of Elder Holland’s talk even though I am splitting it up into bite-sized chunks. You have to do that with an Elder Holland talk sometimes. He offers too many nutritious nuggets of spiritual wisdom to take in all at once.
Now, on to Lesson #2 in our quest to create Zion where we are…
Story #2: Rainbow Hair and Many Splendored Rings
I love that Elder Holland posed three questions regarding this daughter of God who had entered the church building.
- “Was [she] a struggling soul, not of our faith, who had been led–or even better, had been brought by someone–to this devotional…?”
- “Was she a member who had strayed a bit maybe from some of the hopes & standards that the Church encourages for its members…?”
- “[Was she] the stake Relief Society president?”
I love Elder Holland’s humor, but what I love even more is that the first questions that came to his mind were about this young woman and the struggles that she may be experiencing. He was concerned about her. He was grateful that she was there and hoping that she would be able to find “the peace and direction of the gospel” in her life. This is what true disciples of Jesus Christ think about when they encounter people who may look different than them.
So what is the lesson that Elder Holland is trying to teach us with this story?
Lesson #2: Show Compassion, but Be Loyal to the Commandments
“It is no small gift to know how to do such things in the right way!”
The Savior is truly the one to emulate. He was perfect at showing compassion while encouraging change. Now, here is the challenge for us–imperfect human beings who are trying our best…
How do we overcome our judgmental “natural man/woman” tendencies and emulate the Savior?
Elder Holland has some words of wisdom for us on how we can do that.
Remember Who We Are
“Asking these questions and really trying to do what the Savior would do is what I think He meant when He said, ‘Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.'”
Judge Righteous Judgment
This is the trick, isn’t it? Judging with righteous judgment is not an easy task. It is so easy to fall off the “righteous judgment” path and start walking on the “worldly judgment” one. One of the biggest issues we may be concerned about is offending someone by making a righteous judgment. But, as Elder Holland says, “while not wishing to offend those who believe differently from us, we are even more anxious not to offend God.” And then, in his wisdom, Elder Holland drives home this point with an example…
Whew! That was a meaty lesson and I only shared a few tender morsels of it! Again, I would encourage you to watch, listen to, or read this talk in it’s entirety so that you can take from it what the Spirit would like to teach you.
I will leave you with one more quote from Elder Holland as we leave Lesson #2 and move on to Lesson #3.
“I know of no more important ability and no greater integrity for us to demonstrate in a world from which we cannot flee than to walk that careful path–taking a moral stand according to what God has declared and the laws He has given, but doing it compassionately and with understanding and great charity. Talk about a hard thing to do–to distinguish perfectly between the sin and the sinner. I know of few distinctions that are harder to make…but we must lovingly try to do exactly that.”