By Kari Diane Pike
Deseret Book's Time Out for Women program has been offering an amazing webinar program for the past five or six months. You pay a small fee and for your money, you get to watch three different speakers give three or four different webinars dealing with their particualr subject. You are also provided with an online journal beneath the screen so that you can follow an outline provided by the author and add personal notes. This can then be printed for future reference. Sheri Dew is featured in the first set of classes and discusses the topic of "The Divine Gift of Influence: Righteous Women Can Change the World." I am currently watching the second "semester" of webinars and thoroughly enjoying them.
Camille Fronk leads the most recent presentation I am watching. The title is "Mentored by Our Foremothers" and the first class is subtitled, "Seeing As God Sees." Sister Fronk poses an interesting question and challenge.
"How do you limit yourself when you judge someone with only part of the information? What limitations do I place upon myself when I label someone else?" Sister Fronk then challenges the listener to think back to a time when you may have purposely, or unconsciously labeled or judged someone. Try to see that person as God sees them. Does the atonement apply to them?
"Boyd K. Packer said, 'Save for those few who defect to perdition after having known its fullness, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense expempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.'" (Oct. 1995 General Conference)
Unfortunately, I didn't have to think very far back in time. Last week we received an e-mail from a person that produced a great cause for concern in our family. I felt offended. I felt betrayed. I felt discouraged. I quickly became very angry. The angrier I became, the more reasons I came up with justifying the reasons I felt so angry. There was that word: justify - a big red flag that through the years I have learned to recognize. I knew that if I caught myself "justifying" I most likely needed to change something, not about another person, but about me; my attitude, my choices, my habit. If I felt the need to justify an action or thought or attitude, that action, thought, or attitude probably did not fit with my goal to live a Christ-centered life.
I prayed about my feelings and asked Heavenly Father to please help me let go of my anger. As I prayed, questions about the person involved formed in my head. Why did she send that e-mail? What is going on in her life right now? Imagine being the mother of a large family in a new state, a new ward, a new culture, a new home, and your husband needing to be more than 800 miles away while you try to unpack and adjust. How would you feel?
The next day I attended the final session of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication. As I sat and listened to the Tabernacle choir perform the sacred hymns and watched slides of the beautiful grounds, the foyers, the sealing rooms, and the celestial room, I thought about the purpose of the temple. My heart broke open and I felt it fill with love and peace. That love and peace overflowed and filled my entire being. I could see my sweet "sister" and feel her struggle. She must feel miserable. She is under a huge amount of stress and feelings of inadequacy as the extent of her responsibilities must seem overwhelming. I am too far away to help her physically, but I can pray for her and love her and ask that the Holy Spirit carry that love to her. I thought a bit about what the worst consequence of her actions could be for me and my family. That consequence would be difficult, but it would be temporary. A far worse consequence would be if I chose to remain angry and blaming and unforgiving - that consequence not only creates pain now - but would be eternal. I came to love this person as I saw her as God sees her. I am eternally grateful.