A Lesson On Christlike Love and Bullying in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

By Unknown - October 21, 2018

I have never spoken in great detail about this, but I feel it’s a story worth telling and learning from. Growing up in this church has been hard for me. I love the gospel and I believe it with all my heart, but since the day I moved here when I was five years old and made friends with this little boy who everyone judged and hated and mistreated I was too. It felt like a slap in the face for my entire childhood and adolescence until even now. Other kids excluded us, talked bad about us, made us feel worthless and unimportant, and made sure that we knew that we were nothing to them.

I struggled to understand why doing nice things had put me in this position that eventually led me to question the church. I felt like every effort I made was never enough. I was discouraged and disheartened by the lack of results. I felt like the only place that was supposed to be safe wasn’t, and that there was nowhere I could go that was safe from bullying. There was a period of several years in my life where it got so bad I couldn’t take it anymore. I did everything I could to avoid church. It was the last place I wanted to go, and the last place I wanted to be. When my mom forced me to go to mutual I would sob because I was ashamed that I wasn’t wanted, and I felt like something was wrong with me. It took a long time for me to find my faith again after that. It took a long time to build my testimony back up and to begin to feel okay about coming to church again. I had to realize that I didn’t need the approval I so desperately wanted from the people who degraded me and used me and excluded me. At five-years-old, I chose to be friends with the weird kid at church. I chose to make him feel welcome and I paid dearly for it for the rest of my childhood. But even if I could, I wouldn’t change that decision. The lesson here that I’m trying to get across is that showing Christlike love is an amazing and beautiful feeling, but you won’t always be praised for it. Sometimes you’ll be mocked and bullied and used, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it in the end. You can’t control how the people around you act, and you can’t force them to treat you with Christlike love, but you can treat others that way despite the consequences wrought by men. 

Be kind. Ally yourself with the lost and the broken, the lonely, the weird, the misunderstood and misguided. Even if that means that you are ostracized. Even if that means that you are excluded, mistreated or abused by the people who are supposed to be your friends. I promise you that the blessings that God will give you make the actions of your fellow men pale in comparison. When Christ was on the earth people mocked him and spit on him and dismissed him for his boundless and perfect love for us, but he was not deterred. He loved even those who hated him. I know how hard it is to find christlike love in your heart for people who have hurt you and broken you, but I also know that as you pray for the ability to do so, and as your actions reflect that you will be blessed in ways you can only imagine. God will always take care of his precious daughters.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf addressed the topic of bullying in a General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in his talk “The Merciful Obtain Mercy.” It is a wonderful address and I highly recommend studying it. In this inspired talk, he says,

This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven?

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