Friday, March 29, 2013

Giving Each Other Some Wiggle Room

I have a friend who sees a lot of things very differently than the other members of his small branch.  It's hard enough to be different in a large ward, but in a small branch it can be even harder.  I was talking with him a couple of years ago, and he said the following, which I thought was profound:

I expect the other LDS members to give me some wiggle room (most do not, I admit), so the least I can do is give them a little bit, too.

As I have thought about that statement since then, I have come to frame it in the following way:

I think it's appropriate to modify the Biblical statement, "We love him, because he first loved us," to, "They accept us, because we first accepted them."
However, just as not all whom he loved, loved him in return, not all whom we accept will accept us in return - as my friend said in the quote above. Our job is to accept them anyway, since, "If ye love them only which love you, do not even the publicans also?"

I believe it is important for all of us to give each other some wiggle room - to be accepting of others who are trying their hardest to follow the dictates of their own consciences.  If we can't do that, we certainly can't expect those who believe differently than we do to accept us and value our opinions. 

This has application outside the Church, as well.  How many times have you bristled when someone dismissed you just because, as a Mormon, your views were different or strange to them?  How can we expect or ask for a change if we dismiss them as they are dismissing us? 

Whether it is those inside the LDS Church with whom we disagree or those outside of it, I really do believe wiggle room is important.

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