Tag Archive: Forgiveness


bullyI have been thinking a lot lately on why people get so offended by the smallest of things. Sometimes it doesn’t even relate to them personally, but they choose to be offended by it or they seem to make it about themselves so they can thrive on that feeling of being offended. I sometimes think that perhaps they have lived their life day after day looking for something to outrage them. Feeling deeply that perhaps because of some incident that happened in their life as a youth or adult gives them the right to do so.Twisting things that are said to help feed the rage inside them to give them a reason to be offended, hate or mistrust. I wonder how they can live day after day with this kind of drama in their life. Not one of us was born filled with hate. Hate is of Satan. Taking offense to every little thing that happens in your life is of Satan. When you choose to be offended or take something wrong, then you have chosen to follow Satan. I personally will choose to be happy. The thought of living every minute of my day trying to find something to offend me is exhausting. I will give the human race some credit. I do not believe that most people start their day by saying or thinking, “Hey, what am I going to say to Jim, Bob or Nancy today to offend them”. I think most people don’t consciencely do that. None of us was born with a communication manual stapled to our butts. It is a skill that many of us take a lifetime to master. I see it as a parent. Things I tell my children to help them in their lives frequently are seen as, “You don’t love me”, or “You hate me”. When in fact it is the complete opposite. They choose not to see it that way, because perhaps it is easier to take offense than to learn and grow. When I take a step back and look at what I said and how I said it, I can see where perhaps I could have worded some things differently that would have made a difference, but the child also wanted to see it the way they wanted to see it. If we all were perfectionists at communication, do you think some will still choose to be offended? Probably, because as long as Satan exists, it will exist. In junior high, I was relentlessly bullied. It was awful. To this day, I have not even told my children what was said to me, because I do not want them to see the flaws that these three young men apparently saw in me. Every morning having to stand at the bus stop with these three boys was a trial. They humiliated me in some of the worst kinds of ways during one of the most awkward stages of life. It couldn’t have been worse in my mind. One day my friend that was with me, that usually stood up for me, even laughed at one of their jokes. That devastated me and made things worse because I felt even more vulnerable with no one to have my back. I was a shy kid and it took a lot for me to speak up let alone make friends. One day I decided to try out for the school talent show with some encouragement from my parents. I made it and ended up singing. It was scary, and I think I was more happy that I lived through it than for my actual performance. Afterward, I ran into these young men in the hall. They proceeded to poke fun at my singing and humiliated me in front of others. I almost didn’t sing again publicly because of them. If not for loving parents who persistently encouraged me, that probably would have been the end of my singing. One day while on the school bus, one of these young men got separated from the other two. He happened to be in front of me and my friend. I remember taking advantage of this situation and we plagued him with every mean personal attack we could come up with. He sat there silently taking it all. When my friend and I were done, I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I was sick. Sick of the way I had just acted. I had just become the very thing I loathed, a bully. I don’t care if he and his cousins treated me like that, it was not who I was and not how I wanted to be. That was a changing point in my life. I chose from that time forward to never treat someone like that again no matter what and have tried like crazy to teach my children to be the same way. If I would have used this childhood experience to base my assumptions and judgments on others and to dictate my relationships with others, I would have one of the most miserable lives ever. I would never trust, nor would I ever be able to fully love or feel love. Who would want to live like that? How would that dictate the way I taught my children? That you should never trust anyone because they will hurt you or offend you? How terrible would that be to start your children on a course like that to travel throughout their lives, passing it on to generation after generation. God wants us to be happy. We dictate that emotion in our own lives. patrickplungerWe choose to be happy because of life’s experiences or we choose to be miserable because of life’s experiences. I CHOOSE to be happy despite what I may or may not think someone said about me or thinks about me. There is enough hate, misunderstanding and intolerance in this world. We need more love, acceptance, understanding and happiness. If it doesn’t start with ourselves who will it start it? Because our children will be just like us.

The ShepardI’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some know us as Mormons. I am sure that many have heard about the Ordain Women movement that a member of our church has started. I will refrain from giving my opinion on her and the movement itself. I try to align myself with the Prophet. I have a perfect faith that God is in charge of His church and when the prophet speaks, God speaks. I do not doubt. I will however like to mention my distaste for the people who are so quick to have an opinion on a situation without them even have one iota of a clue of what is going on.

The lady that is a member of our church and started the movement of “Ordain Women” is clearly struggling with not being able to hold the priesthood in her life. I don’t know her name, because I haven’t been following any of it. Got my own issues to deal with. I of course like many have been raised in this church, know what the Priesthood is and although I do not hold it, I have access to it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. Thus it is not anything I believe I need to hold in my life to make me any different from what I already am. These ladies are entitled to the very same no matter their stations in life. Our church is set up to accommodate single mothers, single sisters and widowers who do not have a priesthood holder in their home. Case in point: One night I was talking to a very close acquaintance of mine. She is a single mom and has been for many years. She has really struggled with the effects of divorce and raising children. With divorce comes bitter feelings and even from her own children. She was crying one night after having an argument with one of her kids. She was telling me how hard it is to be a single mom and sometimes feeling the negative attitudes from her kids. and no husband to stand up for her or help her. She was very overwhelmed and struggling terribly. She felt like she needed a priesthood blessing, and there was no one she felt she could call to give her one. Her father lived a couple of hours away and he was the only one she had in her life to help her. When I hung up from her, I immediately called her Bishop. He made contact with her within a day and in turn called her home teachers. They came and offered her the service she so desperately needed. This is how sisters of our church have access to the priesthood.

On to what I wanted to discuss. Excommunication in our church is a serious matter. It is one that leaders do not take lightly. The church is set up to help members try to fix what is going on their lives without them having to excommunicate someone. They get many opportunities to change and set things straight. It is all up to them in what they do with those opportunities. In early periods of the church, excommunication was more prevalent than what it is now. Someone has to do some serious sins without a desire to change before the church considers excommunication. I am not an authority on it by any means. Nor do I want anyone thinking I am. It is a serious and sad situation. My father was in a bishopric where he had to be present for church disciplinary actions for young adults in the area where he served. He came home so sad and so depressed because he had seen young members of the church have to go through this. He never told us anything because it is a confidential and private matter, but  I saw firsthand how much it hurt him.  It hurt him because of the chances they were given that the didn’t take advantage of. Thank goodness there was only one he had to experience in his 4-5 years serving.

The thing I have a hard time with this Ordain Women leader is that if I were in her position and I was on the verge of losing my membership in a church that I loved with every fiber of my being, I would not go to the New York Times and tell them about it. To me, this says a lot about this person. It says a lot about what she is trying to accomplish. It says a lot about what she holds sacred and dear to her in her life. There is absolutely no way I would want the world knowing I was being kicked out of church. With that said, I do not know fully what is going on and will reserve my opinion on what I think should happen. I do know that if it happens to her, it will be a decision that will be made with a lot of thought and prayer. We love our members and hate to see any of them leave or be kicked out. We are about saving souls, not losing souls.

I have 3 young adult children. One daughter in particular has seen within her circle of friends a split that  this threat of excommunication is causing. It has saddened her greatly because a lot of her friends are automatically calling judgments on the leaders without knowing the full story. Everyone is jumping on the opinion boat to give their two cents worth and quite frankly, not one of those kids have sat in any meetings that (Ok, I am going to have to look the Ordain Women leader’s name up because I keep wanting to say Katy Perry and I know that isn’t right…just a minute..) Kate Kelly has been in with church leaders. They only read what is written, hear what is said then form their “Only true and correct” opinions off of that. It’s like trying to make good judgments based on gossip. You will never find the truth until you search the source for it and then realize that there is always two sides to every story.

Our family just went through a very difficult situation where this type of thing happened. My son was calling around asking people if they had any old metal he could haul off to the recycle place because he was trying to earn money to buy a car for an automotive class he was taking. So he and his buddy had permission from the people they called to collec this metal and haul it off. About a week after they had collected this metal, we had an officer come to our door. Apparently when one of my son’s friends had told him he could have some metal at a house they had just moved out of, unfortunately being teens the property boundaries weren’t made all that clear. Without knowing the exact boundary, or thinking he knew the boundary, my son and his friend hauled off an old cast iron sink that was buried in the mud just 4 feet from the property boundary. They also grabbed a tractor scraper in the same area. There was a ton of metal behind this area that they didn’t touch because they believed they were where they could take things.  As soon as we were alerted to the mistake, my son went the next day to the recycle place to see if it was still there. Unfortunately the sink wasn’t, but the scraper was recovered. My son even offered to mow lawns or anything to pay back for the sink, but it ended up him having to go to court where the charges were dismissed because the courts saw it as an honest mistake. In the meantime, rumors were flying around the town we lived in that he was going to jail, that he had gone into someone’s  house and took the sink out.  Basically that he was a thief. It was unbelievable some of the stuff people had been saying about him. People that he thought were his friends. Friends usually come straight to the source to get the truth. At least I would. These people knew my son. They should have known that he was not the type of person that would do that, yet they chose to listen to gossip and to spread it, instead of coming to my son and asking. The truth got more hidden every time the gossip was retold. During this time, he had also been trying to sell a jeep to help him get this car. He had someone come to the house, sign the title and pay for it and then when they went to drive off it wouldn’t start. The guy came back in and took his money back and told my son he would come back later to get it. He never came back despite my son calling him and trying to figure out what was going on. He wouldn’t return his calls or anything. After awhile we figured the guy wasn’t coming back. So we had a title he had signed which presented a problem with trying to sell it. We called the DMV and they told us we just needed a form to fill out explaining the situation. We got busy and forgot to get the form. None of us remembered we hadn’t gotten the form when my son ended up selling the jeep to a close friend of the family. The young man had only paid my son for half of what he was selling it for and my son was willing to let him pay the rest later. He took the title and none of us remembered to give them the form. My son had mentioned to the kid that we needed to get the title fixed, but we all forgot about it until the day the father of the boy showed up at our house. Pretty sure the boy forgot about it also.

I am not sure who was in more shock over the way this father reacted, my husband and I or my son. This father had a heated exchange with my son telling him that he had taken this jeep to the recycle place and because the title had someone else’s name on it he didn’t want to get charged with grand theft auto for cashing the check he got for it etc. My son felt that he was being accused of selling the jeep to someone and then turning around and selling it to someone else keeping the cash from both sales. What this father didn’t realize is that he himself was guilty of the very thing that he seemed to be accusing my son of. His son had not paid my son the other half of the money for the jeep. This father had sold something to someone else that did not fully belong to him. We could have by law taken him to court over this, but we don’t do that kind of thing. We discussed this in our home wondering if this father had heard rumors about our son and automatically assumed that my son was now a bad kid and was trying to rip him off. Only going off what he thought the situation was instead of taking the time to ask. Perhaps he was having a bad day and took it out on my son. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that what was once a cherished relationship, no longer seems to exist with this guy. We talked to our son and told him that perhaps he didn’t know that his son hadn’t paid for it in full. Which really doesn’t justify the behavior in anyway, but there are always two sides to every story. We expressed to our son the importance of not mis-treating this individual even though my son felt that he was wronged. I will not lie when I tell you that it was a very hard to deal with personally. I am still trying to get to a place where I can feel like I have fully forgiven this father.

My son took this to heart and was still patient with the man’s son, hoping that he would eventually pay him the remainder for the jeep. My son is pretty trusting, because he himself does pretty much what he says he will do so of course he assumes everyone is like him. One day while driving down the road, he saw this father pushing a 4-wheeler up the street. My son stopped to ask him if he needed  help. This man just looked at him and kept walking forward. Not once acknowledging my son’s willingness to help him out. My son told me a couple of days later what had happened. I told him how proud of him that I was that he was able to look past the bad experience between the two and reach out in friendship. This hurt my son greatly. I have not seen my son cry very often, but this made him cry. He did not understand why someone would treat him like this. To this day, this man will not look at my son. My son is determined to rise above and move on from the past. His son paid a little more on the jeep, but stills owes my son money, but he is looking past it and moving on. He told me that he isn’t sure if the kid forgot how much it was sold to him for after so long of not paying for it or what, but he is looking past that to save what relationship there is left there. I quite frankly don’t know how he does it, because it would be hard for me to keep trying after being knocked down a few times. Unfortunately this whole situation has caused some serious trust issues with my son. He has trust issues with those he once called friends. It has also opened all of our eyes to how wrong we can be with some situations if we don’t fully know the truth. My son was going through a very hard time. This man could have taken a step back and considered his approach and perhaps could have gotten the story behind what was going on. But he instead took the other road and lashed out in anger. We tried calling him, tried going to his house. We tried to contact him a few times to tell him what the situation was, but without any luck.

I bring this up because this is what happens when we are quick to make judgments without seeing the whole picture. We think we know everything, and think we are entitled to those judgments because of things we have only seen on the surface or things we have heard or because we are mad or various other reasons. I have found myself on the judgment end many times and am trying to make a vast improvement in the way I approach things. I myself hurt someone very close and his family and to this day am still having a hard time forgiving myself for it. Even though they have forgiven me. I hurt someone dear and that kind of situation is hard to recover from.

In my line of work, I meet people every day that you make quick judgments on for one thing or another. Even when someone comes in to apply for a job,  a quick judgment of that person is made without really knowing that person.

I used to work with a girl that I initially looked on her appearance and kind of  judged her, but quickly found she was a delightful young lady. After working with her for awhile I realized what a horrible life and childhood this girl had had. No child should have to go through that. To see where she was in life from what she came from was amazing. She told of a time when she was in a store with her husband. She was 19, She was about 7 months pregnant. She was wearing some leggings and had mentioned she didn’t want people seeing her underwear line, so she had chosen a more “uncomfortable” pair of underthings to wear to avoid that. As they stood in line to get their food, she  heard someone behind her say, “No wonder she is in the condition she is in with what she is wearing.” I was horrified first that someone would just say that to someone. Not to mention that the girl was married, standing with her husband. I thought to myself, “What right do they have saying something like that?”

Once I wanted to be friends with someone on Facebook. I truly wanted to get to know them. This person never accepted my “friend request”, but later informed me that they wanted to only be friends with people outside of our community. I was cool with that. Whatever. Then years later I find out that they had told someone that I didn’t like them because they hadn’t accepted my friend request. The ironic thing of it is, is that this individual is very hard to get to know. Sometimes they act like they want to talk to you, sometimes they don’t. So I am kind of the type of person that “doesn’t want to invade someone’s personal bubble”. So I am really not sure how to act around them. I very willing to talk when spoken to, but if I feel they don’t want to talk to me I back off. This person doesn’t see how they come off sometimes. In fact they have many friends on Facebook that are in the community. So if I wanted to go off of that, I could be the one seeing they didn’t like me, or didn’t want to be friends with me. They have never sent a friend request, and I have backed off from my initial request and let them use Facebook the way they seem fit.  The fact is that sometimes in relationships with others, we don’t take responsibility for our half of things not working. I could be more approachable if it wasn’t I was so cautious to not cross boundaries. Or they could perhaps say, “Hey, maybe the situation is not what it seems. Maybe she is just quiet and doing what I asked her to do”. No, we make quick judgments.

Why do we do this to each other? Why do we think we know everything about everyone without knowing anything about a lot of people and think it is our job to “enlighten” other people who then cast those same judgments on someone they don’t know? It’s a vicious cycle.

A recent article was posted in our local newspaper about a reporter being kicked out of the courtroom because her shoulders were showing and the court room had a dress code that there were no sleeveless shirts or hats to be allowed in the courtroom. Of course every feminist in the state of Utah got on the band wagon pouring out their hearts about how this court single handedly sexualized this ladies bare shoulders because they had kicked her out. Not once anyone acknowledging a dress code or rules of conduct in a courtroom. When my son was to appear in court over this sink dilemma, we were mailed a letter telling us what the dress standard would be for the court and was expecting it to be upheld. A lot of the people attributed the “Kicking out” to the LDS church policy on modesty.I have no idea what makes them think that the church went into that courtroom and demanded that that court of law abide by our modesty policy. I read some of the comments and quiet frankly laughed at a lot of them. I have never before seen a firestorm of misjudgments in my life. I was dumbfounded. I have lived in other areas of the United States and common sense tells me that every court in this country has a dress code to abide by. Feminists want the same rights as men, but they want to set the rules to by which they want equality. Such as a sleeveless tank top that a man wears to court should never been put in the same category as a woman’s sleeveless blouse. Really, sleeveless is sleeveless. That rules applies across the board and these women should be grateful they are being treated equal. I have seen Judge Judy herself rip into someone in her court for wearing more clothes than this young lady did, because she thought it was disrespectful to show up looking like they did. It was her courtroom, her rules. My job has a dress code, my children’s schools have dress codes, stores have dress codes. Can you imagine what the consequences would be if they didn’t? We would have half naked men and women parading around in front of our children without them accepting any responsibility for exposing young kids to that.

 

Our society has become nothing more than an opportunity for someone to tell you what they think and that your opinion means nothing or your side means nothing. No matter what the true story is. No one wants to search the truth and then base their opinions on their findings. They want to quickly form opinions and blast those all over the world as fast and as hurtful as they possibly can without taking responsibility for lies, gossip or the lack of truth.

Many times I have found myself on the other end of the whipping stick because I have voiced my religious beliefs. I have been called judgmental because I feel marriage is between a man and a woman. It is my opinion. I am entitled to it. It is my right as an individual in this country as much as it is their right and it is my right to practice my religion as I want, just like it is theirs. This great country gives us this ability. Society believes I am no longer entitled to my religious beliefs if it goes against someone else’s.  When I express them I am condemned. I get called bigot, racist and every other word you can imagine from people who don’t even know me. They know nothing about me. They base their judgments off the strokes of a keyboard.

My daughter who has always been a quiet, shy soul had posted a blog post about judging others that went viral. She had a lady post a comment that said that she found my daughter rude and extremely unprofessional and would not take anything she said as anything to be worth reading. My daughter has one of the kindest hearts I know. She hates to see people mistreated or ever feel like she has hurt someone’s feelings. So much so that she removed a blog post about activities she wanted to do while in young women’s because she was afraid her young women’s leaders would have taken it wrong and thought she didn’t like them. She loved all of the ones she had and didn’t want to hurt them in any way. She is very conscience about how she treats and reacts with people, yet this lady based her opinion on typed digital words that have no emotional attachment whatsoever. The Internet has given us to opportunity to interact with people all over the world, but it has also become one of the biggest tools of Satan to be hurtful, mean and to quite frankly bully anyone who goes against us. We don’t have to see these people in our lives. So we unattach ourselves to the comments we make because we don’t see the hurt we cause. We strike out with our hurtful tongue and then continue on our merry way without thinking twice of the devastation we have left behind. It is an Internet based Hit-and-Run basically.

When we as a society and people will take a step back BEFORE passing judgments or forming opinions and tell ourselves that there are always two sides of every story and take a more thought out approach to the way we communicate and deal with people, then perhaps we can save ourselves from this destructive pattern we have put ourselves in.

When Christ, our loving Brother, hung on the cross; being persecuted for things He did not do He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” When we as a society learn to forgive and to not be so quick to be offended, then perhaps we may start to change the hate filled culture we have created for ourselves. It starts in our homes where we have the most influence. We must teach our children to veer from this horrible destructive path we are on. We have to teach them to love and to forgive. We have to teach them to mind their tongue when on the Internet. We have to teach them to think of others when they say something, do something or respond to something. We must teach them to ask themselves, “What would Christ have me do. How would Christ have me act”. If we don’t start with our kids and try to change our own behavior we will eventually destroy ourselves.