Friday, September 5, 2014

Sometimes, the Presentation and Attitude Are More Important than the Words

I had an interesting experience in Sacrament Meeting a few years ago, and I have thought about it off and on ever since: 

The first speaker talked about repentance - and, as strongly as feel about how we tend to present only a small, simplistic view of repentance in the Church, I ended up enjoying the talk, mostly. The speaker had a good sense of humor, was self-deprecating and used personal experiences of when he'd screwed up to illustrate his points. "Doctrinally" I had a few issues that could have been bigger - but his approach and attitude overcame those issues.

The second speaker (the High Councilor) talked about the Law of Chastity - and my experience with the first talk was magnified throughout the second talk. There were more aspects for me over which I could have taken issue (and those issues were deeper for me), but, in the end, I was impressed by something that hit me hard - and I mean really, truly HARD:

He obviously was sincere - and trying his best to be compassionate, understanding and empathetic. His delivery method and attitude were humble, even as probably 2/3 of his talk was content I never would have chosen for a talk about that topic - and 1/2 of that content I couldn't have said over the pulpit if I'd tried (like some of his description of pornographic imagery - even not in explicit terms - since I believe that only brings such images into the minds of those who need help the most without actually helping them in any way).

I didn't know either speaker - had never talked at length with either of them. All I had was their words and their presentation of those words - and, in the end, what I FELT about them as I listened outweighed what they actually said. I felt like they were good, sincere people doing the best they could to help others - so the fact that I believed that some of what they said wasn't helpful in the slightest and, in a few cases, actually incorrect, didn't mean as much as that impression. I cut them slack because of what I felt, when I would have been more critical if I had felt differently about them.

It's true that often we overlook things people say if we love them - so I try to learn to love people who see and say things differently than I do. 

1 comment:

Mary B said...

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
― From "A life for a life" (published in 1859) by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik