Today I read 1 Corinthians 16 where Paul basically ends his epistle to the Saints and tells them to be good and to do all things in charity. As I was reading it, I got to thinking about how the world views Latter-day Saints and how we view each other. The world, even if they don't realize it, holds Latter-day Saints to a much higher standard than others, which in my opinion is a compliment. Think about it, if someone commits a crime, on the news they don't tell you what religion that person is, unless it's a Latter-day Saint. Why is that I wonder?
I think it is because people have come to expect a certain behavior from Latter-day Saints and it shocks them when LDS members deviate from that behavior. Also, I think it has to do with the natural man. Think about it. When is the last time you found someone that, at least in your eyes, was perfect? What happened when that person made a mistake? Did you think how awful that such a one goofed? Or did you cheer and pump your fists and say, "Take that, goody two shoes!"? I'll wager at least 99% of us would be in the latter group. This is because when we see someone who is better than us, in whatever aspect, it reminds us of our shortcomings and we don't like it. So when those who are not LDS see a Latter-day Saint goof up, it makes them feel better about themselves. They don't feel quite as flawed because this other perfect person, it turns out is no so perfect. That is the natural man.
It is a humbling thought to know that I am always on display for others to watch. People notice that I don't swear. That I don't tell inappropriate jokes. That I am nice to everyone and that I rarely if ever lose my temper. And so when I do slip up and goof, people notice, big time. I have been greatly ashamed to hear someone exclaim that they never would have thought to hear something like that leave my mouth. That is one of the worst things for me to hear and thankfully I don't hear it all that often because I get a little better each day. But mistakes do happen. Now, if we are held to such a standard by those not of our faith, how do we hold each other?
I would say perhaps even higher. Latter-day Saints seem to forget that we are human and prone to make mistakes. We forget that we all sin and we all fall short of the mark. Some of us sin in more public ways than others. For example, someone who has a problem with smoking is going to stand out a lot faster than someone who views pornography. You can't really hide the smell of cigarette smoke. However, even if we are not committing the big sins, we are all falling short of the mark and we should be each other's support group. Instead what I usually see is gossip, turning away and outright hostility. Why do we turn our back on those who arguably need our help the most?
When we become aware of a fellow Latter-day Saint's shortcomings and their need for increased help, we should be the first ones there to offer support and to encourage professional help if needed. We should not be rushing off to tell our best friend what Sister So-and-So did. Or what Brother You know Who said. We should be their friend and should stand by them in their time of infirmity. Just like we would if their were physically ill. We are all spiritually sick because we all have our challenges. Even President Monson sins from time to time and has need of repentance. Only Jesus Christ was perfect in this life. Everyone else has need of repentance.
We should all strive to be our fellow Saints greatest support group no matter what their trial is. Even if it is of their own making. It is not for us to judge. Our lot is to support, love and forgive. Isn't that what you would want if your biggest sin was revealed? I sure would. Until tomorrow.