Four months ago a latter-day apostle summed up in five words the reason I am pro-life: life is sacred to us.
I have a great reverence for the gift of all lives. I also have a great reverence for the gift of disciples called to deliver messages needed for our time and to warn of things to come. We are so blessed.
I’m grateful to know that all life is sacred because all souls are precious. Yes, ALL souls are precious to our Heavenly Parents and, as our brothers and sisters, they should be precious to us as well.
This is why it's so interesting to me that in the defense of values, many have a tendency to forego so many basic human values, like respect, kindness... you know, those things we learned in primary and kindergarten.
We can be different and still be nice. And especially as those who seek to follow Jesus Christ, we most certainly should try. I would suggest that we not only choose to be nice, but also loving, healing, and forgiving. Hey, I'm not saying it's always easy when some things said are so profoundly painful to read or hear. But I'm saying we have to "try, try, try." And it's best not to try on our own, but to plead for help from the Savior. He can bestow upon us His charity and that can change everything.
Having charity doesn't mean not having an opinion or being a pushover. We can choose to be confident and bold about our position yet still remain compassionate. Of course we can and should defend our beliefs! But a superseding core belief can include that each human is of value. Another core belief could include that we don’t know everything. Acknowledging that is not questioning what we already do know or admitting weakness... it's embracing the possibility of growth and making the mature decision to consciously stay open to learning more. And probably the most important belief should be that everyone has the right to think and choose for themselves and we truly need to honor that.
It's important to remember that the truth is usually less harsh and divisive than what is portrayed on the news or in social media because extreme opinions get clicks. I think something more powerful than picking sides would be to decide not to be manipulated by faceless organizations in the name of ratings and profit.
It can also be helpful to recognize that people usually reach their opinions based on their life experiences which, guess what, have been DIFFERENT than your life experiences! Maybe having a conversation about those things will expand your awareness and soften your heart.
I'd like to suggest that we choose not to engage in the hateful rhetoric. I hope that more will choose to engage in acts of love and kindness -- no matter what. Especially in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who have the knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we should be cultivating a culture of unconditional love. We have been called to "renounce war and proclaim peace!"
The truth of who we really are at our core, and not just the people we agree with but everyone, is good. We can find and cultivate the good in others as we engage the goodness in ourselves and interact with them respectfully. Or we can choose to divide, demean, and vilify. The outcomes are vastly different and right now too many people are choosing an ugly outcome by choosing ugliness every day.
No one has to change their opinion to listen to someone else’s; but maybe if we will listen to each other we can get better understanding and perspective! Maybe the solution isn’t converging opinions or surrendering to the majority. Maybe increased understanding and perspective from different sides can lead to a NEW, innovative solutions, because we stopped putting everything into a box because that felt comfortable and safe, but instead chose to expand our thinking into broader, inspired possibilities.
Every opportunity we have to communicate with someone includes the opportunity to influence them for the better, choosing the type of person we want to be, the type of person we want to become, and the way we want to treat other people, remembering always that Jesus taught to love everyone. And He didn't just teach it but He showed us how.
He taught to do good, to help, to heal, to disagree without being disagreeable, and to defend His message without getting defensive.
To me, being pro life means I respect the power of creation because I love and know I am loved by the Creator. Being pro life means I will always strive to protect and help sustain all life because I understand that the gift of life is sacred, precious, and eternally significant. Being pro life includes proactively striving to improve and influence for the better the lives of all of God's children as I strive to live like the Exemplar. Being pro life means I understand that we all chose this life that is full of opposition so we could progress. I also understand that will seldom if ever be comfortable because God intends to transform us... not because we are not good enough, but because He loves us too much to allow stagnation when He knows of our infinite goodness and potential.
I hope and pray we can look to Jesus Christ and truly follow Him. There is plenty of hate and divisiveness. We can be the ones to bring charity and compassion to wounded souls. We can be the ones to strive for unity and inclusion. We can choose to be transformed as we transform our thinking and our behavior and we can be grateful for the gift of this life that gives us the opportunity to do so..
Please do not underestimate your ability to change the conversation
and bring some light to the world.
The light you bring matters because you matter.
(And guess what, all the other people matter too. Promise.)
p.s. If you don’t agree with this post, I still think you’re awesome.